Google will soon rank your site according to a mobile first index. The number of mobile users crossed the number of desktop users a few years ago, and Google says that it gets more searches from mobile, than it does from the desktop. So what does this mean for how you can better optimise your site?

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Here are some things to know:

1. What does a mobile-first index mean?

Google will crawl through your web pages as a mobile user would, and rank them accordingly.

So if you are performing search engine optimisation for your site, you should start with optimising it for a mobile audience.

2. Don’t have a mobile site?

You need not worry. Google says “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.”

3. Will there be two indexes?

Google plans to move to the mobile index fully over time. However, it will keep two indexes while it is still in the process of rolling out its mobile first index. As the mobile first index becomes more accurate, Google will phase out the desktop index.

4. Separate mobile and desktop sites?

If your site has different desktop and mobile versions, then Google will rank only the mobile version of your site.

So make sure that the content you have on your desktop site, is available on the mobile site.

This move is to ensure that mobile users who search for content are being directed to sites that give them exactly what they have searched for.

It will be better for you to have a fully functional desktop site, than an unfinished mobile site.

5. Expandable Content?

Content hidden in tabs and accordions will now carry the same weight as content that is plainly displayed on the page. In the earlier algorithm, Google did not index content that was put under a read more link.

6. Testing Your Website

You can use Google Mobile Friendly Test and Responsive Tester.

7. Will Rankings Change? 

Gary Illyes and Paul Haahr from Google said that their goal is that the index should not change overall rankings.

Content that is not mobile-friendly does not rank in the current system of indexing, as Google has previously pointed out, and this will remain the case with the new index.

8. When Will Mobile-First Indexing Begin?

When Google feels comfortable with the accuracy of its algorithm. It has not given a specific timeline.

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