Keeping up with SEO trends is not something that you could do as a website owner or webmaster; it is something you must do in order to remain relevant in the World Wide Web. So as to capitalize on your online presence for business or other purposes, SEO is a critical aspect of your operations. You need to know what you should do today to ensure that your clients (potential and current) can find you in an easy and convenient manner while also enjoying a pleasant user experience through the use of sustainable and legitimate SEO practices. Mobile-first indexing is one of the changes in search engine optimization that could help you remain at the top of the food chain in 2017. If you haven’t heard about it you need to pay close attention and for those who may have some knowledge about it, here are some in-depth details about what it is all about.
What is Mobile-first Indexing?
Mobile-first indexing is simply a shift from using desktop search engine indexing to using mobile versions of websites to generate rankings. This is in an attempt to ensure that rankings reflect the true situation which is that a majority of online searches are now happening via mobile. This means that in 2017, SEO will be determined primarily by the content that is on mobile sites as opposed to the past where desktop sites determined ranking even when a search is conducted from a mobile device. This change will in effect mean that even if you are searching from a computer, the search rankings displayed to you will be generated according to the mobile version of content on the web. This basically makes the mobile version of your website as important if not more important than your desktop site as far as SEO trends for success in 2017 are concerned.
What Will Change?
As with all other SEO trends that have come before, mobile-first indexing will bring about a number of major changes to Google rankings, especially in the longer term. In the immediate to short term, there may be very little impact felt as regards ranking on search engines. This is because Google will continue running desktop indexing for its ranking with a gradual transition to mobile indexing being implemented. This makes it especially important to take a critical look at content for mobile which was previously not given as much focus as desktop content. Most mobile content has been lower in quality and quantity as compared to the desktop versions on the same websites. In 2017 however, mobile-first indexing will require a shift in SEO strategy that recognizes content for mobile as being the new priority area. Check Google’s tool to see if your website is mobile-friendly.
Will the Emerging SEO Trends Affect Current Ranking?
In the short term, there will be minimal changes to ranking as it is at the moment. This is due to a conscious effort on the part of Google trying not to upset things too much with the change to mobile-first indexing. Over the long term, however, the changes in ranking will be inevitable as those who fail to embrace the move towards mobile-focused ranking fall further behind. To maintain current ranking, SEO trends in the year 2017 demand that you give your mobile content serious attention so that you continue to enjoy your current ranking or actually improve it going forward. For the large majority who have been paying little attention to their mobile content, this is a shift in SEO trends that calls for a shift in SEO efforts from focusing solely on desktop content to making sure that your mobile content is SEO focused.
BONUS: Some Dos and Don’ts with Mobile-first Indexing
As with all new SEO trends, mobile-first indexing comes with a number of important dos and don’ts that will help webmasters and site owners enjoy better results while giving their online guests a better experience. While some of these tips may appear to be obvious, they are important enough to be addressed as they could have a significant impact on your SEO or user experience and in some cases both.
- Almost all the dos of SEO remain the same in 2017. However, a few of those that are specific to mobile-first indexing are to add and verify the mobile version of your website on the search console. You should also confirm that your website’s mobile version can be accessed by Googlebot. This can be confirmed through the use of robot.txt testing tool. Contact Google to get specific information you need to ensure that this development works out well for you online.
- The first important don’t is to avoid rushing to launch a poorly done mobile version of your website in an attempt to stay ahead of the game. This will very likely attract negative consequences that could seriously dent your SEO efforts. A well-done desktop site will continue to provide you with good SEO outcomes in the near future, and this means you have adequate time to do a proper mobile version of your website. Secondly, avoid ramping up your mobile site data with a lot of irrelevant data that you hope will improve your rankings. This is another move that could easily and quickly work against your SEO efforts in 2017.
For the discerning business owner, this and other SEO trends serve as free market research that indicates what market trends are and where they are expected to head. Statistics indicate that more than eighty percent of people who have a smart phone conduct an online search before making purchases. This by itself even without considering the introduction of mobile-first indexing should be a call to action. A majority of internet users are today going online on mobile devices and any business looking to remain relevant must embrace this shift and ensure that their customers enjoy a better online experience on the mobile versions of their websites. This could potentially give them better business in 2017 and also improve their rankings on search engines as we get into the era of mobile-first indexing.
N.B: This article originally appeared on Philip Moses’ blog.
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