Google rolls out mobile first indexation to New Zealand.
The search engine giant has begun to roll out its “mobile-first” indexing throughout New Zealand, altering the online landscape for both consumers and business forever.
What is ‘mobile first indexation’?
It means Google will rank its search engine results based on the mobile version of a website, even for listings that are shown to desktop users. In other words, if the mobile version of your website is not relatively good, then your desktop and mobile rankings will be impacted.
Official New Zealand roll out, from July 2018.
Having first announced plans to implement the technology back in 2016, Google’s transition towards the newest mobile-centric developments started with a small trial towards the end of 2017. As of this month, New Zealand is the latest country to be affected by the latest evolution in the indexing algorithm, which changes the way sites will be ranked to the modern web user.
While mobile friendliness has long been a critical factor in Google’s indexing algorithm, the roll out of its mobile first indexation should cause a significant shakeup.
Catering to the growing Mobile Market
Before the launch of the iPhone in 2007, web searches made via Google were completed almost exclusively through desktop browsers. The popularity of mobile browsing has grown at an exponential rate, however, and has been the primary mode of searches for most websites since 2015.
The mobile-first indexation is thus designed to improve the UX (User Experience) for consumers using mobile browsers. This ultimately means that Google uses the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking first, not the desktop version. This is so that the end user is presented with websites that look and function well on smart devices.
Which Websites are affected?
Google’s mobile-first indexing is still in the process of being rolled out, and the completed transition is likely to take months. Some New Zealand businesses may find that their sites remain indexed by the desktop version for now, but those that have been switched to the mobile-first option will be informed via their Google Search Console profile.
Website owners will receive the following message:
“Mobile-first indexing enabled for http://www.ABC.co.nz/
To owner of http://www.ABC.co.nz/,
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.”
A better future for end users and businesses
The mobile first indexing is fantastic news for consumers as the purpose is to make their browsing and shopping experiences on mobile devices smoother than ever. The sites that rank highly through Google’s mobile first algorithm should offer quicker load times and better appearance and navigation.
The change also means encourages NZ businesses to overhaul their websites to be more mobile friendly. Once hit by the mobile first indexing, there’s little choice but to make the necessary changes to retain a good ranking.
Furthermore, the businesses that make those upgrades are no longer going to fall behind the outdated ventures that previously ranked well due to using SEO tactics that targeted desktop versions only.
Take action today
Seeing a website’s ranking fall has a huge impact on a business. If you are concerned, speak to the specialist mobile first team at Clickthrough SEO, by emailing Hello@clickthrough.co.nz or lodging an enquiry through www.clickthrough.co.nz.
The future Is here
Love it or hate it, the shift towards mobile usage is here to stay, and Google’s latest developments are further evidence of this happening. Once the mobile first system has been rolled out across the developed world, further enhancements could be in the offing.