A discussion of Google’s mobile-first indexing approach and what it means for the future of business as we know it.
For businesses concerned about their visibility and overall search presence, Google is essentially the only game in town. Though there are other search engines, none are as widely used, as powerful or as influential on the way the Internet operates than Google. Recently, the company announced another in a long line of significant shifts to the algorithm that determines which sites rank in which order: it will begin indexing mobile-friendly websites first, with everything else coming after.
What This Change Means
If everything works precisely as it should, this means that mobile-friendly websites are now guaranteed to rank higher in Google search results than their desktop counterparts. This actually makes a large degree of sense, given the fact that most adults in the United States own a smartphone and that many of them even use those devices as their primary means of Internet access.
If you DON’T have a mobile-friendly website, this doesn’t mean that you will suddenly find your business de-listed from Google altogether. If given the choice, Google will display the mobile version of your website first and it will use that site to determine all subsequent rankings.
Google has indicated in a statement that this change is being made to make their search index more useful to the majority of users. This is also not a change that will happen overnight – the company indicated that, effective immediately, the shift will roll out over the period of several months. Until the shift is complete, Google will continue to maintain a separate index of desktop and mobile sites. This was done to give people as much time to prepare as possible.
However, it does mark yet another in a long line of significant shifts to the way search engines, and SEO in particular, operate. Google also indicated that when given the choice between a properly functioning desktop site and a broken mobile one, the desktop site will always be given priority – even after the change has completely had time to roll out.
This type of rapid, significant shift in “the way things work” is also another example of why managed IT services providers are so important. If a business is concerned about their mobile presence, or if they’re trying to leverage deployments like Windows 2016 or Citrix to their full advantage, they need a managed IT services provider who can help make sure these technologies are always working at their best.
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