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What Is Mobile-First Indexing?

March 19, 2020 Daniella Retzkin

Marketers have been preparing for Google’s shift to mobile-first indexing since 2016, and the date of the transition is finally approaching. With more users searching via mobile than ever, Google confirmed it will complete its shift to mobile-first indexing for all webpages by September 2020. Google holds a 92% search engine market share as of February 2020, and almost two-thirds of their search traffic comes from mobile devices. Most marketers realize the importance of doing everything they can to rank well within Google search results.

What Is Mobile-First Indexing?

Shutterstock_1017761755  Kyiv, Ukraine - January 24, 2018: Woman using Google app on Apple iPhone 8 plus at home. Google it is the most-used search engine on the World , handling more than three billion searches each day

With the switch to mobile-first indexing, Google will prioritize the mobile version of content rather than the desktop version of the same content for indexing and search engine results page (SERP) rankings. Essentially, the content and the user experience of mobile pages matter more than the content and the user experience of desktop pages with regard to Google rankings.

Why Is Google Switching To Mobile-First Indexing?

In November 2016, Google first announced the transition to mobile-first indexing in an attempt to keep up with consumers prioritizing mobile search. 

Consumers are using smartphones at home, work and on the go, spending approximately three hours per day on their smartphones. As a result, according to a June 2019 study, roughly one-in-five American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users, meaning they do not have traditional home broadband service. And World Advertising Research Center (WARC) reported in 2019 that almost three quarters (72.6%) of internet users will access the web only via smartphone by 2025. 

Google actively makes core algorithm updates, like mobile-first indexing, to consistently improve the user experience for the majority of users across devices. Mobile-first indexing prioritizes mobile pages the format most Google users are viewing  for their SERP results. 

How Can Digital Marketers Incorporate Mobile-First Into Their User Experience And Content Strategies?

With Google switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites, digital marketers must make sure they develop websites that deliver intentionally fantastic experiences on mobile devices. 

But marketers should also consider how the increase in mobile search volume is impacting their organic traffic. On mobile, personal (searches with I, me, etc.) and conversation (natural language) search queries are trending upwards, showing a change in how people are searching. These newer search styles present opportunities for digital marketers to lengthen their keyword targets

To perform well and improve search engine optimization (SEO), digital marketers should follow the mobile-first best practices released by Google, which include steps to establish responsive mobile-friendly webpages based on consumer behavior. Google also recommends leveraging their mobile-friendly test to make sure a site is seen by Google as offering a strong mobile experience.

In the past, mobile-friendly websites were essential for delivering mobile-friendly experiences. With Google prioritizing mobile sites for their SERP rankings, mobile-friendly websites are now also important for generating organic traffic across all devices.

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About the Author

Daniella Retzkin

Daniella Retzkin is a Marketing Coordinator at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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