In 2015, Google logged more requests from mobile devices than from computers. They then announced the adoption of a mobile-first indexing strategy for ranking websites in its search engine.
In 2018, 37% of European internet traffic and 48.2% of global internet traffic came from mobile devices.
Google now uses the mobile version of your website for ranking and indexing.
Google didn't create an additional mobile index to optimize search results, but rather, the mobile version of your site will be used as the primary when indexing.
If you don't have a mobile version for your website, or if it is not responsive, the computer version will be used for ranking.
Google is gradually making the switch to mobile-first indexing because of the extremely large amount (several billion) of indexed websites. If it hasn’t yet switched you, it should soon.
If you are the site owner, Google will send a message in Google Search Console notifying you of the change.
If Google still uses the computer version for non-mobile-friendly sites, is it really so important?
The share of mobile internet users over computer users increases every year (remember the numbers at the beginning of the chapter). For example, for all the websites I worked on in 2018, the mobile visitor rate was around 40 to 60%.
Remember, Google's goal is to provide the best information to its users. It’s difficult to prove, but you likely will be penalized in mobile searches.
Adapt Your Website
If you have a responsive website or an optimized mobile version of your site that contains the same information as the desktop version, you don’t need to change anything!
On the other hand, if your website is not responsive, or there are big differences in the content on the mobile and desktop versions, you must take steps to fix the situation.
Here are the most frequent issues, from easiest to most difficult to resolve:
Your site is responsive, but some glitches remain: perfect! You now have a good reason to solve these minor design issues.
Your site is not responsive, and has a mobile version with different content than the desktop version: don't panic. Take the time to update your mobile version, so it's as close to the desktop one as possible (navigation, meta tags, text content, and images). Google will crawl both. If it doesn't find the same content, it won’t know which version to choose. You could be penalized by not fixing the issue.
Your site doesn't have a mobile version and is not responsive: in this case, the best solution is to redesign your site. Keep the content, but change the design, so it's responsive and usable for visitors on mobile devices.
Finally, the more efficient and better optimized your website is, the easier and more intuitive the design, the faster your responsive version is, and the lighter your pages are, the more enjoyable it will be for visitors. You will also get better rankings in Google search results.
That is the subject of the next chapters, so stay tuned!
Google now uses the mobile version of your site (if it exists) as the primary version for indexing purposes. If your site is already responsive, don’t worry,
Make sure you maximize your website’s performance.
If your site is not mobile-friendly, it's time to make it so!
In the next chapter, you will learn how to lighten pages on your site to improve load times and performance.