Mobile-First Indexing and The REAL Effects On SEO

Mobile-First Indexing

Mobile-first Indexing was one of the biggest changes that Google has brought forth in the past year. Google is correct to acknowledge the explosion in mobile search queries and the need to force website owners to optimize for mobile search. As time has gone by, the practical methods of optimizing a website for mobile-first indexing. I will list a few that have worked for us in the past:

Search Queries 

have changed because of voice search and search habits of those looking for goods and services “near me”. Some of the searches that are now being emphasized are long-tail queries (ie. Best tire store for Goodyear tires), informational queries (ie. What is a mud and snow rated tire?), how do I searches (ie. How do I put snow chains on my car?), and local search (ie. Best tire store near me). According to Google, the fastest-growing types of queries are personal search (ie. How do I know when my car needs new tires?), and conversational search (ie. Can I buy tires online?). Personal search and conversational searches are growing because of the continued use of handheld devices to help us navigate our lives. No doubt, this trend will continue and is a vital need for websites to remain relevant moving ahead.

Relevant Content 

has always been the key to successful SEO. Content that is unique and valuable and addresses the needs of those searching for the keywords that you wish to feature is the key to being prominently featured in Google search results. The change in search queries has necessitated a different keyword research and content approach. Focus is now directed to the intent of search queries, understanding that intent, and fulfilling the need. Google has become much better at gauging whether or not website content fulfills the intent of the search. It is vitally important to watch the performance of website content on different devices. Searches vary depending on the type of device that is used for search. Mobile-first indexing does not mean that the search terms that are more relevant for desktop search should be eliminated, but rather that the content and search terms that apply best to mobile search should be added and constantly evaluated.

User Experience (UX) 

in the context of mobile-first indexing has become far more complex. The use of machine learning in search algorithms is designed to evaluate page performance and the level of engagement with searchers who find and use the page. With mobile search growing, the demands of having site content fulfill the needs of different searches on different devices with different intent become daunting. The practical solution seems to be a combination of identifying and prioritizing what searches are the most relevant to the core business of the company, and (taking a page from the paid marketing handbook) creating more landing pages to be certain to address the exact intent of the visitor to the page.

Google Algorithm Intent 

is the same: to deliver the best content that matches the intent of online searchers and remain relevant in an era of increased competition for the online space from internet giants like Amazon and Facebook. A close evaluation of recent algorithm changes is true to this original intent. The practical part of this is that SEO is now more complex and requires consideration of the intent and keyword use of different users on different devices. The key is to decide what is relevant to you. The intent of a typically older audience may be more or less relevant depending on the product offered and the positioning of that product. The technical aspects of SEO should not cause online marketers to lose sight of their target audience and the search intent of that audience. Most goods and services that are offered have a unique selling proposition, and taking the time to understand how search queries are designed to find this uniqueness is a key to SEO success in the new mobile-first search environment. 

Google’s Algo Intent Hasn’t Changed

Looked at a certain way, it could be said that Google’s desire to show users what they want to see has remained consistent. What has changed is the users’ age, what they desire, when they desire it and what device they desire it on. So the intent of Google’s algorithm likely remains the same.

The mobile-first index can be seen as a logical response to how users have changed. It’s backward to think of it as Google forcing web publishers to adapt to Google.What’s happening is that web publishers must adapt to how their users have changed.

Ultimately that is the best way to think of the mobile-first index. Not as a response to what Google wants but to approach the problem as a response to the evolving needs of the user.

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