What You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

In March 2018, Google announced that they are rolling out their mobile-first indexing. As a website owner, you must know about these changes and how to make your website mobile friendly.

Google will crawl, index and rank websites from your mobile instead of desktop version. If your website doesn’t work well on a mobile device – or takes forever to load – then you will eventually get stung by these changes.

With over 60% of Google searchers viewing sites on mobile, it is important to optimise your site for a mobile device.

Don’t miss out on valuable Google rankings or let your competitors get better search results than you. Find out how you can optimise your website for mobile devices, all about mobile SEO and why Google’s mobile-first indexing matters to you.

Google’s mobile-first indexing

Google’s mobile-first indexing announcement is a bombshell for website owners. Eventually, Google will primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank its pages in search results.

This shift has already begun, with a handful of sites being transitioned to the mobile-first index.

According to Google, “Our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our — primarily mobile — users find what they’re looking for“.

Why does mobile-first indexing matter?
Over 60% of searches happen on mobile devices. If your mobile version is hard to read and navigate, you could be missing out on website traffic, sales and engagement on your site.

With such a staggering amount of searches happening on mobile, it’s understandable that Google is moving towards mobile-first indexing.

How do I know if my site has been migrated to mobile-first indexing?
Google will notify site owners through their Search Console.

Is my website mobile friendly?

Want to find out if your website is mobile friendly? Open your website on your mobile phone:

  • Do videos and images look right on mobile?
  • How long does it take for your website to load?
  • Is the content easy to read?
  • Do you have different content on your mobile than desktop version?
  • Is the experience as seamless as your desktop website?
  • Is your mobile website of equal quality as your desktop site?
  • Can visitors easily make a purchase on your mobile site?

Mobile Usability tool:
You can also check your website’s mobile friendliness with Google’s Mobile Usability tool.

Mobile Usability Tool

How do I make my website mobile friendly?

If you got a lack-lustre report from Google’s Mobile Usability tool, then there are five areas that you should focus on:

  • Page speed.
  • Content.
  • User experience.
  • Responsive design.
  • Local SEO.

Page speed:
Starting in July, page speed on mobile will be a factor that determines your search engine results. Slow loading pages will not only impact your Google rankings but increases the bounce rate of website visitors (no one waits for a slow website to load!)

PageSpeed insights tool:
How fast does your website load on a mobile device? Find out with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. This tool also has suggestions to help you improve the performance of your site.

Many websites have less content on their mobile than their desktop website. You need to ensure that your website content is identical with both versions, as it’s not long before your site will only be ranked on the content contained on your mobile site.

To make your site readable on both versions, plan your content well:

  • Improve typography to ensure that it is clean and easy to read.
  • Avoid too many long sentences.
  • Keep your paragraphs to approximately 3-4 sentences.
  • Break up text with bullet points, lists and headings.

Expandable content on mobile:
If you hide content in tabs, accordions or expandable boxes, then Google will give it full weight if you do it for user experience purposes. Expandable content is useful on mobile as it makes it easier for visitors to get to information that they need.

Mobile users are very goal-oriented. They expect to be able to get what they need, immediately, and on their own terms. Google, 2018

User experience:
Always start with the end user in mind. Your website should deliver a good mobile experience for your visitors. What can you do to improve the user experience of your mobile site?


  • Fix fonts (sizing, style, spacing) for better readability.
Pop-ups and windows:

  • Remove annoying pop-ups which can negatively impact your search rankings.
  • Keep users in a single browser window, instead of switching between windows.

  • Add a clickable phone number to your homepage, so the visitor can make a phone call from the button (and they don’t have to write down your telephone number).
  • Ensure that your buttons are large enough for finger scrolling.
  • Put call-to-action buttons front and centre, above the fold.
Online shopping:

  • Let visitors purchase as a guest instead of registering an account.
  • Make product images expandable.

  • Check that forms are easy to use on mobile.
  • Design efficient forms with autofill and minimising taps to get to the next form field.
  • Make your search form visible instead of hidden in an overflow menu.


Source: Google

Responsive design:
Responsive web design ensures that web pages look good on a variety of devices. Whether the visitor has an iPhone, iPad or 24′ desktop monitor, your website will adjust to the right size and render well. That should be fixed by professionals, so call Calescence Digital Agency to get your design solution.

How can I test if my website is responsive?
Resize your browser to different sizes. Does it adjust and still look good? The layout should change based on your browser window size, even on a desktop. That means these sites are responsive.

What is an adaptive website?
Try this on Amazon.com and you will see that it’s adaptive. Some of the content is not visible when you resize the browser.

Local SEO:
The difference between desktop and mobile visitors is that mobile visitors tend to have a localised focus. They may be in your area and looking for the closest retail store or restaurant.

How do I optimise my website for local searches?
Did you know that approximately 50% of mobile visitors who searched for something in a local area, visited a related local business within a day? Google estimates that 18% of these visits result in a sale.

Here are ways that you can improve your local mobile SEO friendliness:


  • Write content that has a local focus. This is one of the most effective ways of improving your local rankings.
  • Add your city and state to the title tag, H1 heading, alt tags and meta descriptions.


  • Ask your customers for reviews, and put them on a page on your website.
  • Encourage customers to write reviews for Google My Business.

Google My Business:

  • Add your business details and good quality images to Google My Business.
  • Keep your contact details up to date.

Will Google have different indexes for mobile and desktop?

Eventually, Google will have one search index that is based on mobile device content. Instead of ranking your website from the signals from your desktop version, it will rank your mobile version first.

Are you ready?

Are you confident that your website is ready for Google’s mobile-first indexing?

Eightball Media has a team of web developers, online marketing and SEO consultants who can work with you to make your website meet Google’s best practice. As Google Partners, we’ve worked with countless clients to improve their online traffic, Google rankings and their visitor’s user experience.

Book your free 30 minutes consultation today to discuss your mobile website.

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