How to Stay Prepared for The First Mobile First Experience
The word about Google’s mobile first indexing have been doing the rounds since the end of 2016, and it is yet not known when the much talked about algorithmic update will take place. If you are concerned about it and rightly so, take heart from the fact that the rollout will be quite different from the usual algorithmic updates that happen all of a sudden and affects all websites simultaneously. It means that the update is going to be a gradual process thereby giving time to those who are yet not prepared. To know how to prepare for the event, you must first know what mobile first indexing is. Then you must try to gather as much information about it as possible so that you can gauge the effect the update is likely to have on your website. Read on to find some information about it in this article.
Mobile first indexing explained
Google had already established how much it prefers mobile friendly websites that resulted in the mobile friendly update of 2015. It has now become a norm to have a responsive website design that helps to display websites on mobile devices without undermining the viewer experience. Accepting the fact that the majority of users access the internet on mobile devices and even the majority of searches originate from mobile devices, Google wants to acknowledge the fact officially through mobile first indexing.
Until now, Google crawls the desktop version of websites during indexing, and this is set to change when the update happens because the indexing will first happen on mobile devices and the desktop version becomes secondary for the purpose. Since the mobile comes first to Google when indexing, hence the name.
The rollout will be gradual
This time, Google is changing its update roll-out pattern. Instead of quietly releasing the update that SEO professionals would come to realize that something has happened to their websites, the mobile first update will unfold gradually. It will first affect the sites that are most prepared so that these websites experience the least impact. This approach would give time to many other sites to pull up the socks and get ready for meeting the standards necessary to avoid any setback.
Mirror the desktop on your mobile
The primary task of preparing for mobile first is to ensure that the website display on desktops and mobile devices are the same. The similarity must be mirror like without even the slightest disparity between the two. If you are already using a mobile responsive design, there is nothing much to do except for ironing out any differences that may exist between the two. For search and viewability, optimize your images. Optimize the structured data to facility crawling by the bots of search engines.
One point that needs special mention is that you must embed all desktop images into the mobile version with suitable alt text to describe the image accurately. Be careful not to miss this aspect as it can nullify all other optimization measures that you take.