News Courtesy of SearchEngineLand.com:
Google has announced that it has begun the process of rolling out the mobile-first indexing to more sites. This rollout is only for sites that “follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing,” Google said.
What is mobile-first indexing?
Google says it is about how Google crawls your site. Google will only have one index, but how Google crawls and creates the index will be based on a mobile-first experience going forward. Google wrote:
To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our — primarily mobile — users find what they’re looking for.
I actually received my first email from Google notifying me of mobile-first indexing. The website is for a client of mine that I manage. Since I design all of my websites to be responsive, I’m not sure what sort of difference this might make. However, prioritizing content for mobile devices is a balancing act. Using CSS, content that appears on desktop can be shifted or omitted. Maybe you have a tagline that shows on your desktop website but want to push more important content further up the screen on mobile. With CSS, you can apply display:none; on that tagline.
Aside from responsive websites, mobile templates can be served based on user agents. Here at Precise Online Management we employ a 3-level website structure which utilizes a speedier albeit slightly less aesthetic mobile template for people with older devices.
Can mobile-first indexing be used to gain an advantage? Since you’re competing against your own desktop version of a web page, probably not. As my previous take mentions, it does solidify Google’s stance on making mobile search a priority. This should really serve as an eye-opener for businesses that have not adopted a responsively designed website or a different mobile template.