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Google's Mobile-First Index is LIVE

Over here in SEO world, we’ve been anticipating the launch of Google’s Mobile Index and the time has finally arrived! We’ve started to receive confirmations through the Google Search Console on behalf of many of our client website owners that their sites have been added to the mobile index.

What does this mean exactly? 

Due to the astronomical popularity of mobile search, we’ve been preaching for years that it’s essential to have a mobile optimized website - and so has Google. This is yet another major step in putting mobile into the driver’s seat when it comes to search.

It’s no longer that Google is just rewarding mobile-friendly sites with improved ranking, but now if your site is not up to par, you will be missing the boat.  According to Google, mobile-first indexing means that they will now primarily be using the mobile signals of the site, rather than the desktop signals, for indexing and ranking. Until now, the desktop version of all sites’ content were used to evaluate the search relevance to a query. Now as the majority of users are searching from mobile devices, the mobile data will become the primary source of content.  Google’s claim is that this is to assist the majority of mobile users in finding what they are looking for, as the desktop version can often cause issues for mobile searches when the content is different from the mobile site. Right now, there are two indexes, one for mobile and one for desktop, both will send out crawl bots to the website and take in data for their own index, and the mobile index will be prioritized.

So far it seems that the index has not resulted in any significant changes in ranking - your site ranking will likely be the same as it is on the desktop index. Google is merely going through sites and selecting which sites to add to the mobile-first index. Those that are added, however will likely see a small increase in mobile traffic.

Where there may be an advantage for sites that are added to the index is in cases where the competition is not in the mobile index or has not yet been added. In these cases, your site might bump up a notch or two in the mobile index, so people searching from a mobile device will find you first.  Alternatively, if your site is not in the index, you will be left out of the mobile search ranking index, which gives your competitors the edge.

Don’t worry if your mobile-optimized site has not been moved over yet. They are taking this transition slowly to ensure a smooth transition for site owners and users and they are carefully assessing the readiness of each site before moving it over.  At this point, we have yet to find a way to submit to the mobile index, or a way to force a crawl by Google so, it remains out of our hands.

If your site is mobile-friendly, there is nothing to do at this point, other than being aware that your efforts are keeping your site up to date with the trends of digital marketing. You can check whether your site is mobile-friendly here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.

EyeCarePro clients should be aware that all of our sites are mobile-optimized and that since we manage your Google console we will be getting the notification when it is added. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your web manager.  


Daniel Rostenne Daniel Rostenne is a leader in the online optometric community and has made a career of creating and promoting effective web sites for optometric practices. He is a COPE educator, editor of Optometry Web, a regular speaker at eyecare events & conferences and has been widely published in Optometric e-zines. Daniel is an expert in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization, in particular as it relates to best practices for Optometrists. You can sometimes find Daniel daydreaming on Google+.

Contact Daniel: 866-886-4442 or danielr@eyecarepro.net

Nancy Rausman Nancy Rausman is the managing editor of the EyeCarePro blog and Optometry Web Newsletter. She is responsible for providing ECPs with educational content that helps them advance their practices through technology, management strategies and digital marketing.

Contact Nancy:nancy@eyecarepro.net