Google recently launched mobile-first indexing, reflecting the behavioral trends and looking to become more mobile-friendly given that 57% of US traffic is now from smartphones and tablets versus 43% from desktops.
Mobile-first indexing is exactly what it sounds like. Google will use the mobile version of your site as the baseline for rankings and results.
To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for. – Google Webmaster Central Blog
You may see an increase in traffic from Smartphone Googlebot, and the cached versions of pages will usually be the mobile version of the page. If your site doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop site can still be included in the index. But the lack of a mobile-friendly experience could impact negatively on the rankings of that site, and a site with a better mobile experience would potentially receive a rankings boost even for searchers on a desktop.
Mobile sites are becoming the cornerstone of content consumption and buying. Mobile searches lead to purchase decisions and increased buying intent. Is your site ready for Google’s mobile-first indexing? If not, you’re risking both sales and traffic.
Jim Yu shares five ways webmasters can optimize their content and on-site technical elements to succeed in the new index.