Google Mobile First Index 2021: What Business Owners Should Know 

Google has been working harder to make the internet more mobile-friendly. Recently, they have taken an essential step in their ranking process by incorporating a new method of indexing called Mobile-First Indexing. 

This change means that for your site to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to optimize it for Google's mobile searches. The reason is that these searches can sometimes work differently than for desktop or laptop users.

As part of Google’s continued efforts, they have begun implementing changes within their existing ranking process called Mobile-First Indexing. If you are looking for ways for your website rankings through SERPS and other popular web indexes to increase, take a moment to understand this new Google standard.

What is Google Mobile First Index?

Mobile-first indexing means that Google now primarily weighs the mobile version of a page's content when evaluating relevance to user queries. Launched in March of 2021, Mobile-First Indexing is the new standard for ranking website.

Historically, search engines like Google indexed pages with their desktop versions, because they were easier for computers to read and parse. 

Today, approximately 60% of searches are on a mobile device. These numbers continue to climb as mobile devices become more enhanced for website content viewing. Therefore, it makes sense to give them more weight as well.

How Will the 2021 Google Mobile First Index Affect Your Business? 

Mobile-first indexing took effect in March 2021. If you did not prepare before the deadline, you undoubtedly felt the impact. You need your website optimized for mobile searches to be ranked by Google's new algorithm effectively. 

It is essential to act now, especially with SEO traffic from leading search engines as a vital part of your business strategy. Here are the ways the Google Mobile-First Index in 2021 will affect your business: 

Desktop Site-Only Webpages Will Be Dropped

Google will soon stop indexing desktop-only sites, and your content could be next. With this change in how Google indexes websites, there could be disastrous consequences for any site that relies exclusively on desktops as access points. 

This algorithm also applies to websites with too many assets not viewable when viewed by mobile devices. 

The new policy states that Google will no longer show results from desktop-only pages within their search engine rankings. This change means you will need a fully functional mobile version of every page if you want them to appear at all. 

It does not just impact those who design poorly responsive web pages. Even with well-designed layouts, some features such as video may prove inaccessible unless they are made compatible across mobile platforms. 

M-Dot Sites Will Experience Redirects

Mobile sites set up as a separate m-dot offer an interesting element to the algorithm. M-dots are hosted on their own subdomain, like “m.example.com.” These sub-domains provide the best of both worlds with an optimized design for smaller screens and site speed.

It does not seem that Google is too concerned about desktop users trying to access mobile sites. John Mueller from Google commented, "I don't see this situation changing anytime soon."

Google has also been pretty open about its preference of responsive web design vs redirects or additional sites due to maintainability.

You Will Need a Mobile-First Index Checker

Google has been pushing new mobile-first indexing in the past year. If you have already made this switch, you probably received an email notification from Google Search Console telling you so. But if not, it is easy to check.

If you have not yet received a message on Google Search Console or via one of their emails, there are two ways to confirm that change. You can go into Search Appearance under Google Webmaster Tools. When you have done that, click on Site Configuration, then Mobile Preferences. 

You can also type “site:" followed by the URL of your site into a Google search. Whichever method you choose, either will show whether Google has crawled your website as a mobile-friendly site. 

How to Develop Mobile First Design in 2021 

Mobile-first design is a new process of development for websites that takes mobile users into account first. There are 4.28 billion people who choose to access the internet through smartphones over computers. The mobile-first design ensures future success by not requiring you to convert features or functions from desktop versions when they are finally available later down the line.

The process of developing a mobile-first design is not an easy one. There are many steps to take and pitfalls to avoid along the way. Here are the stages for developing a mobile-first design:

  • Wireframing: This provides the map for how the site is going to perform and the way things are going to appear on your web page.
  • Responsiveness and a Responsive Framework: Websites for mobile are designed to be more responsive and user-friendly. They can adapt their size, orientation, or platform without the need for a separate app.
  • Optimize for Thumb-Sized Content: Most users maneuver through mobile web content with their thumbs, so you need to ensure that your site is optimized for content that fits how users will be navigating your site.
  • Create a Desktop/Mobile Design Consistency: Your mobile-friendly site should look similar, if not the same as your desktop site.  

How the Release of Google Mobile-First Indexing in March 2021 Affects You 

Google's announcement in March 2021 of mobile-first indexing has impacted website visibility. The change affects how Google crawls and indexes websites, prioritizing those better optimized for small screens over sites designed for larger ones. What does this mean for your site? Get ready to optimize.

Google's commitment to mobile-first indexing has been a long time coming. For over two decades, Google built a search engine with desktop computers in mind. With the introduction of smartphones and tablets, this is quickly changing. 

The culmination of these changes came when Google announced they would be transitioning to this algorithm, tailored toward users who primarily use handheld devices to navigate the web. Jax Digital can help ensure that your website is ready for Google's Mobile-First Indexing in 2021. 

If you need to make sure that your site complies with the latest Google ranking standards, contact us here at Jax Digital.


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