Unless you’ve been living under a very large rock on a secluded island in the middle of nowhere, you’ll no doubt have noticed that smartphones are taking over our lives.

And now, Google has confirmed this with the rollout of its new mobile index.

Over the past number of years, mobile phones have become an increasingly important part of our lives. In fact, the average person now checks their phone 46 times a day. Meanwhile, by the end of 2016, the number of smartphone users across the globe is forecast to reach 2.1 billion.

But, what has all of this got to do with Google and SEO?

Google’s Mobile Index

Google has long been preparing for the mobile-first culture we are all now a part of. And, recently, it announced its plans to prioritize mobile over desktop.

Calling it an experiment, Google has entered into a testing phase with its mobile index.

What exactly does all of this mean?

Essentially, it means that the mobile version of a site will now be considered the primary version of that site for the purposes of search rankings.

Ramifications for SEO

Google’s mobile index has important ramifications for SEO.

But, one thing that is now abundantly clear for businesses of every kind: Mobile engagement is no longer optional; it’s essential.

Because of Google’s new mobile index, page rankings are going to be impacted. As a result, a mobile-first strategy has now become the absolute priority.

Unsure how all of this is going to work? Don’t worry. We’re here to help.

Read on for the full low-down on Google’s new mobile index.

Google’s Mobile Index – Why Are Things Changing?

For the past number of years, Google has used the desktop version of a site to rank it in a search.

This typically involves looking at the desktop version of the page’s content and making an evaluation concerning the relevance of that site based on the typed search of the user.

What’s the Problem with That?

As technology has evolved, this has caused issues for people searching on a mobile device.

In some cases, the mobile page of a site has less content than the desktop page, but Google’s algorithms have been evaluating the desktop page. This makes the search by the mobile user not as useful as it could be.

Coupled with this issue, we also have the reality that Google sees more mobile searches than desktop searches on a daily basis.

It makes perfect sense to make a change.

Google says that the search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, but over time, its algorithms will use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank it in the search results.

The Importance of Micro-Moments

Google has identified an extremely important trend in recent times, and, it’s a trend that’s here to stay.

Micro-moments have forever changed what we expect from brands and businesses.

But hold on a second.

What exactly is a micro-moment?

Mobile usage has now divided the customer’s journey into hundreds of real-time micro-moments where intent in the moment is all that matters.

In that moment a customer is looking to be:

  • Informed
  • Entertained
  • Educated
  • Or, they want to purchase something

In order to maintain a competitive edge, businesses and website design have got to be optimized for these micro-moments.

Put simply, if you haven’t identified the moments your target audience engages via mobile, and if you haven’t optimized for those moments, you and your business are going to be left behind.

Google’s Mobile Index – What to Do for SEO

Winning mobile moments that matter and capitalizing on the new mobile index will pose a series of challenges to you and your business.

But, the good news is that there are a number of steps that you can take to immediately adapt to this change.

If your site is already ultra responsive, you shouldn’t see any major impact from Google’s change to mobile index. If it isn’t, then you and your SEO team will have work to do.

First Things First

To begin with, you must ensure that your website is completely mobile friendly in every aspect.

But…

This alone isn’t enough.

Speed is a basic tenet for mobile users in today’s fast-paced world. Not only do they want that information, they want it NOW!

According to Google, 53% of users will abandon a site if a page doesn’t load within 3 seconds.

As a result, your website will have to have spectacularly rapid load times.

How to Optimize for Mobile Index

Our suggestion is always to employ the help of trained professionals who know all kinds of tech tools to optimize your site.

If you’re going it alone, there are some problems you will need to identify first.

Things to Investigate

  • Are your desktop and mobile versions visibly different? You will have to examine every page
  • Are they different in content? (With adaptive design, this can be an issue)
  • In terms of the quality, is there a disparity between your desktop version and mobile one?
  • What about the performance of each site? Is one quicker than other?

Things to Do

Once you’ve identified the issues present that may have a serious impact on your site’s ability to adapt to Google’s mobile index, you can set about taking action on those issues.

  • You will need to fully optimize your content design
  • Identify the different demands on your mobile and desktop sites
  • Publish only the freshest content on your sites
  • Publish on Accelerated Mobile Pages technology (AMP)
  • Publish separate mobile content that will be visually appealing on a smartphone device
  • Optimize for micro-moments
  • Inform yourself about consumer intent – the signals and trends

Once you have implemented these changes, you will need to constantly track and measure results across both desktop and mobile versions. And, of course, you will always be comparing mobile and desktop results.

Mobile Index and Your SEO

So, if you are an enthusiastic techie, Google’s mobile index changes will be a very welcome challenge.

For everyone else, the assistance and advice of experts will be required.

We are the enthusiastic techies and we enjoy adapting to Google’s changes.

Reach out and talk to us today to see what we can do for you.