Posts

Google is sending emails to webmasters that are being migrated to the search engine’s new mobile-first index. If your site gets indexed, Google will start choosing the mobile version of your site as the default choice – meaning your site is fast enough and optimized for mobile users.

The search engine first said they would start sending notifications to websites being migrated into the mobile-first index, but the emails have only started being actually seen in the wild over the past few days.

The notifications are coming a bit late, considering Google has confirmed that it began moving websites over to the mobile-first index months ago.

You can see a copy of the email as shared by The SEM Post or read the full text below:

”Mobile-first indexing enabled for <URL>

To owner of <URL>

This means that you may see more traffic in your logs from Googlebot Smartphone. You may also see that snippets in Google Search results are now generated from the mobile version of your content.

Background: Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they’re looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site’s content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version. Our analysis indicates that the mobile and desktop versions of your site are comparable.”

As announced last month, Google is officially making its first step towards the launch of mobile-first indexing with the test of its mobile-first search index.

The company confirmed the testing has officially started via its company blog:

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”

This means in the future Google will increasingly prioritize crawling the mobile versions of a site’s content, rather than treating desktop as the “main” version of your site.

The company also gave some quick tips to help you make the most of this change as it is happening:

  • If you have a responsive site with identical content across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
  • If you have a site where the primary content and markup is not identical across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
  • Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
  • Google recommends using the Structured Data Testing Tool to verify the equivalence of structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output.
  • When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
  • Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
  • Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links.
  • If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
  • If you only have a desktop site, Google will continue to index your desktop site just fine.
  • If you are building a mobile version of your site, do not launch it until it’s ready. Google says: “a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site.”

mobile-closeup-campaign

Google has been vocal lately about encouraging webmasters to improve the loading speed of their websites, especially on mobile devices. It has made loading speed one of its many ranking signals and is rolling out Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to improve mobile website speed.

With all this effort to make mobile loading speed an important issue for webmaster, you might think Google would be ahead of the curve when it comes to making sure their pages load quickly on mobile devices. Not so, according to a recent test shared on Hacker News.

The test was conducted using Google’s own PageSpeed Insights tool and several others have replicated the results on their own. The findings seem clear; Google is the slowest loading home page on mobile in its market.

You can see the results of some of the speed tests below:

Screen-Shot-2016-02-20-at-3.21.33-PM-760x276

Google’s loading speed

DuckDuckGo's loading speed

DuckDuckGo’s loading speed

Screen-Shot-2016-02-20-at-3.22.53-PM-760x256

Bing’s loading speed

Screen-Shot-2016-02-20-at-3.23.41-PM-760x257

Yahoo’s loading speed

Somewhat surprising, Yahoo came out ahead of the pack with a loading speed significantly faster than anyone else in the market. That may be part of the reason Yahoo has seen faster growth on mobile than Bing or other alternatives to Google. However, Yahoo’s market share of mobile search still sits at just over 3.5% compared to Google’s 94%.

Several elements are slowing down Google’s mobile home page, including render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content. Once AMP is rolled out, this could change. If Accelerated Mobile Pages are as effective as Google claims, it should have one of the fasted loading home pages on mobile once the new system is released. But, it is interesting that Google is currently lagging behind the field.

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm started rolling out Tuesday, and so far it looks like “mobilegeddon” was far from apocalyptic. Most SEO’s and webmasters are reporting little change to their rankings and the world has continued spinning.

However, a report from Google shows one way the new algorithm had an impact before it even arrived.

Shortly before the start of the mobile-friendly roll-out, Google announced it had seen a “4.7% uptick in the proportion of sites that are mobile friendly” compared to their previous stats released two months ago.

While 4.7% may seem like a small number of sites, it is important to consider the number in the context of the absolutely huge number of sites that are not being maintained and offer little value but are currently still resolving. It also shows many webmasters began to realize the importance of going mobile in the wake of the advancing algorithm.

Expect to see even more sites make the change in the coming weeks as the new algorithm begins to have a more pronounced effect and word spreads.

Google Mobile

Google has been giving webmasters some pretty heavy hints that mobile-friendliness was important to the search engine, and today the company made it official. Mobile-friendliness and indexed apps are officially ranking factors in search results.

The motive behind the addition to the search engine algorithms is fairly obvious. People are using mobile devices more and more to search the web, and mobile-focused ranking factors such as these are the best way to ensure quality results no matter what device you come from.

The mobile algorithm update won’t take effect until April 21, so you have time to make any necessary changes you may have been procrastinating on until now.  Google also says the update will affect all mobile searches in any language around the world.

If you are concerned your site may not be up to Google’s mobile standards, they offer a mobile-friendly test. Google also suggests examining mobile usability issues by reviewing the Mobile Usability Report in Google Webmaster Tools.

In the meantime, Google will begin considering information from indexed apps as a ranking factor for signed-in users with the app installed on their phone. This way, content from indexed apps on your phone have the potential to rank higher in the search results you see. As a side-effect however, app developers will have to establish a relationship between their sites and app deep links.