After more than a year of fine-tuning and testing, Google has officially begun to migrate websites that have implemented best practices for mobile-first indexing. This means that Google is going to look at the mobile-version of a website and index the content of a mobile site. You may be wondering if this is a big deal or not. Well, to keep it simple, this is a big deal! The reason being that Google has primarily indexed the desktop version of a website. There’s one slight problem with this in 2018: we have smartphones.
The statistics below show that in 2017, 63% of visits to websites came from mobile devices. Based on the two trillion visits that these statistics come from, that is a huge indicator that mobile devices are becoming the norm for engaging with websites.
Obviously, the viewing experience on a mobile device and a desktop computer is much different. Screen space on a mobile device is much more valuable and websites need to make sure that visitors see the most important information. On the other hand, there is much more screen space when on a desktop computer. Web designers have to be very considerate of how the mobile-versions of their site look and function. With Google’s mobile first indexing, it is now more important than ever to know how Googlebots are indexing your mobile site. So what can you do to make sure that the content on your site is being optimally indexed? Here are a couple of pointers:
Know How Google Is Currently Indexing Your Mobile Site
You may already have an idea of what your website looks like on a mobile device, but there may be underlying issues that can cause Googlebots to not crawl the content on your mobile site. A great way to know how your mobile site is being crawled is utilizing the fetch and render tool offered by Google Search Console.
If your website is verified in Google Search Console, simply navigate to Crawl and then click on “Fetch as Google”. You will see a page that looks like this:
To Learn More About Fetch and Render, check out our blog post here!
This will allow you to test any URL on your site and see how Googlebots see the content on your page. Since we want to check how a mobile page is read, be sure to select “Mobile: Smartphone”. Once you have entered your URL and toggled the mobile index, go ahead and click Fetch and Render.
Once the rendering has finished up, you can then click on the path and see how Google views the content on your page. This will give you a lot of insight into what needs to be improved for your mobile pages. It is also recommended to utilize Google’s Mobile Friendly Test site which can give you a more technical breakdown of recommendations that will help the readability and functionality of your mobile pages.
Be Ready for Mobile Indexing!
We know that the frequency of use for smartphones to browse the web is only going to continue growing. There’s no better time than now to make sure your site is ready for mobile-first indexing that is rolling out. Leverage these tools that Google has provided. Make sure that the valuable content on your site is ready to provide your visitors with the best possible experience.