Google is slowly evolving how it will be prioritizing search results within its index. Currently, Google’s algorithm uses two separate indexes: a desktop version and a mobile version. They are working towards using a single master index, which will be the mobile-first index. Google has stated more searches are being conducted on mobile devices than on desktops. Therefore, because of this change, it started to adjust how its algorithm works to offer the best sites for mobile users and desktop users in the search results. In the past, Google would crawl your site as if it was a desktop user; now it will view and crawl your site as a mobile user. Google stated in their Webmaster Central Blog, “Our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”
Google’s ranking system will still look at the desktop version of sites and their content for now, but will be ranking them based on how they are represented on a mobile device. For example, have you ever searched something on your phone and got a tiny version of a website that is too small to read or click on anything? Those sites will be not be able to compete with responsive websites because they don’t have a mobile version, and the user experience (UX) is low. Other sites that use a more streamlined approached will rank better because of mobile capability and because the user can navigate the site easily and access the needed information.
A good example of this change is our website. It looks very similar on both your desktop and mobile devices. Here is a trick to see if a site is responsive when using a desktop computer: Open our website, and take the side of your browser window and decrease the width of the page. Can you see how it stays the same but remains easy to read and navigate?
While most of you do not need to worry about anything, there is small percentage of our clients who need to rethink their strategy, as the rest of our clients are already have responsive websites. It looks as if Google will be rolling this update out slowly, and it will not be fully complete for months. Yet, if you are in the 1% of our clients that need a responsive website, reach out to your Account Manager and make sure your site doesn’t get left in the dust.