Mobile Design and Content to be Ranked First in Google Search

Google is going to rank your mobile website over the non-mobile, meaning that your mobile design & content is more important than ever.

Mobile First Google Search Indexing

Starting this year, Google will begin to rank the mobile version of your website over the non-mobile version. This means that responsive mobile design and content is more important than ever before. If you hide content on the mobile version of your website in comparison to your desktop version, you will see a change in how you rank in Google Search.

The reason for this change? It’s quite simple, the sheer volume of mobile searches compared to desktop. This has meant that those searching on their mobile have suffered from bad touch points, poor design and very basic functionality for far too long. In time, we will begin to see a shift in the types of search results you will see, as mobile optimised content will see an uplift in search rankings – ultimately improving the experience for the user.

The change has been much anticipated, with Google giving a warning during an announcement last year. However, it all went a bit quiet, until Google started mentioning it on their blog.

In November 2016, Google wrote:

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although 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. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”

Google will look at the content, links and structured data of the mobile version of your site – if one is available. This means that the primarily mobile indexed content, there will no longer be any mobile-friendly adjustment that shows for just mobile users. Simply put, it’s pretty clear if you’re not mobile friendly, you need to catch-up quickly before the change comes. If not, you’ll risk the chance of being dropped from search altogether, even on a desktop.


Mobile Design: A Responsive Website

No mobile version of your website? Don’t worry!

“Google will just use the desktop version to rank the site, it’s only a problem if your website is not responsive or does not work well on a mobile. Google wrote, “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.”


How can I prepare for this Search Engine Rankings Change?

Here are some recommendations Google is giving webmasters to prepare:

  • If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
  • If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
  • Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version. Sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output.
    • When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
    • Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
    • Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
  • If you are a site owner who has only verified your desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.


Web Design and Development that is perfect for Desktop and Mobile

Web design, clearly, is extremely important – It delivers to your clients and prospective clients that all important first impression.

In most circumstances, your website is the first time a consumer engages with your brand, and resultantly, it’s good practice that your design and branding emulates your core business values.

Here at Rooster, we develop bespoke web design solutions with SEO integrated into every one of our websites. Take a look at some of our clients or get in contact with us about your next website design and development project.