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Mobile-first Index

In 2017 Google implement its mobile-first index. This meant that Google displayed search results based on mobile site rankings – even if you are searching on a desktop. This came as no surprise when 60% of all Google searches are performed on mobile devices back in 2017. This number grew, with current projections showing 2.7 billion people owning a smartphone by 2019.

The mobile-first index was reinforced with the implementation of the Speed Update in July 2017. The speed update factored loading speed when ranking mobile sites.

So, here’s what you need to know about the mobile-first index.

First of all, you can still use hidden content. Google has advised that mobile content in accordion and drop-down menus will be crawled so these can still be used as a part of your design. 

Secondly, all m-dot domain mobile sites (m.exmaple.com) should be migrating their content to responsive designs. Google recommended that this migration happened before the switch to mobile-first was put into place. The rationale behind this is that if you make your current site responsive, the new algorithm wouldn’t have to index your m-dot site from scratch once the update happened.

Finally, webmasters need to ensure that ALL pages are loading properly on mobile. If the responsive, mobile version of your site is getting a high bounce rate, this will affect your ranking in search results; even if your desktop site has a very low bounce rate. If a site is already fully responsive and has identical content both in its desktop and mobile versions, its ranking should not be affected directly. However, a site that already follows this practice can be indirectly affected as other sites might move up or down the ranking based on their mobile responsiveness.

If you are unsure about the responsiveness of your page, google has a good tool in place where you can check your website's mobile responsiveness by putting in the page's URL. 


For a fully responsive website, contact the skilful folks at Expert.

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