Google has recently been making big changes to the way it indexes our websites and how it decides which pages are going to come up first. A few of these recent changes are “Mobile-First Indexing,” “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” and “Mobile-Friendly Sites.” So let’s talk about these three ways your mobile site changes how Google sees you.
Mobile vs. Desktop
Google has recently reported that they now have more mobile searches each day on their website than desktop searches! The mobile internet is booming, and that means your site better be ready for your mobile consumers. In April 2015 Google decided that this is so important that they made it one of their primary factors in how they rank your site. If your site doesn’t appear to be mobile friendly (either with a separate site specifically for mobile devices or with a dynamically responsive site that reshapes itself for whatever your screen looks like), then you will get dinged on your rankings. Google’s search engines will look for another site to put ahead of you on the list.
This one happened last month and is a little nebulous to the non-tech-savvy. It’s called “Mobile-First Indexing,” and essentially what this means is when Google is scouring your website, they check any mobile pages FIRST. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they’ll move on to the desktop version of your site. This technically doesn’t damage you if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site. But it does show how Google values mobile content. It means if you’re focused on the mobile side of your website more than the desktop side, you’re heading in the same direction as Google.
And that is a huge deal.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
These AMPs are when you take a page of your website and make a secondary mobile version of it that is streamlined and devoid of superfluous formatting and unnecessary bloat. We want to make it so that content can just fly into a smartphone with ease, instead of slowing it down with all the bells and whistles of a desktop device.
Here’s where AMPs really help you out: Google now caches those pages and shows them to users on the pages FIRST. That is; before everyone else’s pages! If you do a search on Google with your smartphone, you’ll notice a little “AMP” acronym next to a few posts at the top. Click on them and check it out!
Finally, they unveiled one more update just last week (November 2, 2016). Now, for AMP pages to work, you have to have an SSL certificate installed on your site. Until now, SSL has been only a mild ranking factor in whether a site gets a boost or not. But when tying it in with AMPs, it’s become a much more significant ranking factor.
What Beacon is Doing About it
First of all, Beacon has always built our clients’ websites with a responsive, mobile-first approach, which means when the “mobilegeddon” update of April 2015 happened, we were sitting pretty. None of our clients suffered from that because we were already ahead of that game. Now, as we’re watching the AMP phenomenon happening, we are preparing all of our sites to begin offering up these Accelerated Mobile Pages to Google. To go along with that, we’re making sure all of our sites use proper SSL encryption as well! Since this is going to be a big adjustment, so we’re rolling it out over the course of the whole month.
Take a look at your site. Is it mobile friendly? If not, Google knows, and yes, you’ll get dinged for that.