The Implications of Mobile First Indexing For Desktop
It’s the talk of the town – mobile first indexing. The reason everyone is talking about it is that it’s probably one of the most major changes to how Google ranks websites ever done. You hear all kinds of mobile first predictions and how it will affect the current desktop search rankings. You hear a lot of doomsday talk but do we really need to be alarmed or just be smart and adapt?
Difference between indexing and ranking
Indexing is the crawling and storage of a websites information by an indexing robot. Once the search engine but reads a webpage it retains that information in its index. You can think of a search engine index as a massive storage repository. If you are performing SEO services for your business or a customer, you need to understand this.
Ranking happens when search engines analyze the stored information in its index. The decision is then made as to which website and webpages are most relevant to a user search query. It’s really not that simple there are many other factors that come into play but that gives you a. general idea.
Mobile First Indexing
Mobile first indexing has to do with indexing-not keyword rankings. Mobile first indexing is certainly a significant change for how Google has historically indexed a websites pages. You can rest assured that for many websites this does not mean significant changes. What Google is really doing is alternating the version of the websites pages that it is indexing. They are choosing to index the mobile version before the desktop version.
Most websites these days are or should be built with responsive design. For these websites that are responsive the really will be no, or at least little change due to the fact that the desktop and mobile versions are the same. The concern should take place when a website has two different versions one being a desktop version and a completely different site being a mobile version. The reason being that in almost all cases the content will be different on the mobile site due to the fact that content has been minimized for the mobile user. This means that there is less content for the search engines to see and determine ranking signals.
In both scenarios the search engines index will be used and viewed to determine rankings for specific keywords and phrases. In the case of a separate mobile site there is less textual content therefore there is not as much data for the search engines to use when determining the ranking of sites.
This overview however brief should give you a good high-level understanding of how mobile first indexing works and its implications on keyword rankings.