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Have there been times when you have searched for some information on the web, found links or search results that seemingly met your search criteria but on visiting the web page, you were unable to locate any of the relevant data?

Remember how we like to quote – “Google it”; for us technology-dependent folks, Google is a messiah of information, from how to make robots to how to make rotis.

Mobile Search is on the rise

Smartphones are increasingly becoming the device of choice for searching on the web. In fact, 2016 is the first period where mobile internet usage (51.3%) has gone ahead of desktop (48.7%), and Google is now acting on it.

What has happened TILL NOW?

Google deployed crawlers or bots to crawl billions of webpages available on the internet. These crawlers help the search engine identify keywords, index and then rank the webpages. Thus far, Google has been using a desktop crawl for various websites.

Mobile first Indexing is what will happen FROM NOW ON

The rise in the usage of smartphones for almost everything has been gargantuan since the last few years, and Google is now advocating the switch to Mobile First indexing. That essentially means that Google’s algorithms will primarily consider and use the content from the mobile version of a website, to rank its pages, and in the process identifying instances of unstructured data. Thereafter, the snippets displayed in the search results will be based on these mobile version pages.

How would it affect the online space?

With Google’s decision to change from indexing the desktop version of webpages to making mobile its primary index, online marketers must start focusing on mobile indexing in greater measure. In simple words, digital marketers and brands must ensure that the content served on the mobile versions of their websites is akin in quality to their desktop versions.

When Google officially switches to Mobile First Indexing, any website that does not include mobile- optimized content could see its page ranking getting adversely affected.

What about the content?

If the online marketers do not prioritize well according to Google’s mobile-first index, they will be risking their Google rankings as well as a drop in search traffic. A direct consequence of that shall be the website’s positioning and significance in the SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages) being undermined.

The use of structured data enables search engines to understand the content on a website, increases its visibility and makes it discoverable. However, since an increase in in the markup slows the page’s browser loading, marketers opt to remove markups from the mobile version of the pages.

Once the Mobile-First Indexing is in full throttle, none of the unstructured data shall be visible thus causing the web page’s visibility and snippets to disappear.

Here’s what you need to do

Even though Google has been very vague with regards to when the new changes shall take effect, one thing is certain – it is inevitably going to happen. Hence, to give the online marketers a head-start, here are a few suggestions that should be acted upon:

  • Large amounts of markups and extra, irrelevant schemas are to be avoided.
  • Focus should be on the creation of such content that suits both the mobile and desktop versions of a page.
  • As per Google’s recommendations, the removed structured data could be added back to the mobile pages but at a condensed rate.
  • The robot.txt testing tool can be brought into use to verify whether or not the mobile versions are accessible to Googlebot.
  • Optimization of graphics to suit the mobile pages
  • Leveraging browser caching
  • Site owners who have verified only their desktop sites in Search Console, must add and verify the mobile versions too.
  • Marketers must ensure that their mobile site strategy gets completed in time so that they are not left with unfinished versions.

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