For some time we heard it was coming and now it’s finally here—mobile-first indexing. But what exactly is mobile-first indexing and how will it affect the ranking of your website in the Google search engine?

What is mobile-first indexing?

Mobile-first indexing simply means that Google will now use the mobile version of your website as the primary determining factor for where your site will rank in search results. In the past, websites were ranked in the Google index mainly based on the relevance of their desktop site when compared to the search terms people used. The change to a mobile-first index comes in light of the fact that the majority of Google searches are done using a mobile device. According to Google, the transition to the mobile-first index will be a slow one to allow for a good experience for site owners and users. Google will evaluate each site individually to assess its readiness for mobile-first indexing and make the transition once the site is ready.

What does mobile-first indexing mean for your website?

If your website was created using responsive web design you should not have a problem as this means your website is already mobile-friendly. With responsive web design, your server will send the same HTML codes to all devices that access your site. CSS will also be used to provide browsers with instructions on how to adjust the dimensions and display of your page based on the device being used to access it. That means mobile users will not need double-tap or pinch-to-zoom in order to view your site properly. Therefore, mobile users will benefit from having access to the same information that would be made available on your desktop site but presented in a way that is easy to view from their phones and tablets.

Note, however, that even with a completely responsive website, you should ensure that your pages do not contain any large and slow-loading files or and that all elements are optimized correctly to ensure the best possible mobile experience.

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What should you do if you have different URLs for your site?

You may run into trouble if your website is not using responsive web design but visitors using phones and tablets instead access your site using an m-dot address. M-dot was the old way of creating mobile sites by using it as a sub-domain. If when people search for your law firm using a mobile device, they are redirected to a stripped down version of your website, Google will consider this as an issue. For you to achieve good rankings in the new mobile-first index using an m-dot site, you would need to ensure that the same resources that are available on your desktop site are available to those using mobile devices. You would also need to ensure that your mobile site is optimized for the same keywords as your desktop site.

Responsive web design eliminates many of the indexing problems an m-dot site may present and you will have only one site to maintain. So, if you have not already switched to responsive web design, you should do so as soon as possible.

Do you need help getting ready for the mobile-first index?

If you need help getting your website ready for the mobile-first index, Soulpepper Digital Marketing Agency can help. We can redesign your site using responsive web design and ensure that it is fully optimized for mobile. That way, you can maintain prominent positions in the Google search results. So, give us a call today to schedule a free marketing consultation with a member of our team.