Desktop search volume has been shrinking for some time
Back in the early days of the internet, the only way to use the ‘worldwide web’ was via a desktop, or later, a laptop computer, physically connected to the phone lines. However, since the introduction of the smartphone, mobile broadband having become more accessible and the ubiquity of wifi, consumers have become accustomed to finding out whatever they want whenever they want, wherever they happen to be. Furthermore, they expect this information to be easy to find, access and assimilate.
Google picked up on the increasing prevalence of searches being performed on mobile devices years ago and mobile searches finally overtook those done via desktop in 2016. Since then, mobile devices have become consumer’s primary method of accessing the internet. With this being the case, it’s long been best practice to make sure that business websites are mobile responsive. If your site doesn’t respond dynamically to the size of screen it’s being displayed on, it becomes less accessible to mobile users, who’ll most likely return to the search results and pick another option. Perhaps that option will be your competitor?
What is mobile first indexing and how does it affect my site?
Mobile first indexing takes this one step further. Google are rolling out the mobile-first search results across all devices. So searches performed on desktop devices will show the same results as phone or tablets and those results will be tailored to give preference towards content which works well on mobile devices. The takeaway being that sites which aren’t easy to use on small-screened devices will find they don’t rank as well as those which do.
If you have a mobile responsive website already, then you’re unlikely to need to to make many adjustments to what you do. If you have two versions of your site, one for desktops and another for mobile devices, then be aware that future search results your site appears in will be based on the mobile version of the site. If, however, your site doesn’t make any allowances for use on mobiles, you’ll find that your site’s rank is highly likely to be adversely affected as more responsive sites are pushed higher up the results. This will mean that fewer people find your business in the search results and as such, you’ll get fewer people using your site and ultimately fewer people buying from you.
When will mobile first indexing happen?
This update has been in the pipeline for quite a while, but after about a year and a half of testing, Google are finally, at the time of typing, starting to roll it out globally. Webmasters will likely see a message from Google in their search console notifications to let them know their site has been migrated and to expect increases in crawls from the smartphone Googlebot.
If you’re concerned that your website’s search traffic might start to suffer due to usability issues on mobile devices, or you simply wish to make sure that your site is fully optimised for use on such devices, then get in touch with us to discuss what can be done to make sure your business’s online presence isn’t negatively affected by these changes.