You’ve been warned: go mobile or go home!
If, for some reason, you haven’t picked up on the quantum leap taking place – right now and in the future – in the digital spaces you really need to pay attention and change your online marketing approach to a mobile approach. That is, every digital marketing move or effort you take needs to be oriented to mobile devices, mostly smartphones.
Like it hadn’t before, search giant Google – overlord and ruler of all search matters on the internet – made this abundantly clear Nov. 4 with this simple warning:
“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. 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.”
What this means – in case you don’t speak digitalese, the language of Silicon Valley – your digital efforts, specifically and most importantly your website, should be easily seen, read and navigated on mobile devices. If it’s not you will never be found in the all important search queries made by the millions of internet users who now simply ask a question of the smartphone.
The phrase most often used is, “mobile friendly.” Your website should be mobile-friendly. More than that, however, your website should be useful on mobile devices: quick, easy, responsive.
Google’s own research and analytics – the most comprehensive in the world for better or worse – suggests nearly all of us are on our smartphones all day long.
“When a question or need arises, our phones are far and away our most trusted resource, with 96% of people using a smartphone to get things done,” pointed out Google back in September.
“To meet these needs, people are at least twice as likely to use search than other online or offline sources such as store visits or social media. Not only is search the most used resource, it’s the resource 87% of people turn to first.”
But in the meantime, Google’s Nov. 4 post on its Webmasters Central blog makes some solid suggestions. (Again, some of this is written in digitalese. Call us, we’ll explain it to you.)
“We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience,” says Google. “Though we’re only beginning this process, here are a few recommendations to help webmasters prepare as we move towards a more mobile-focused index.”
- If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
- If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different 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.Sites can verify the equivalence of their 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; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
- 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, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It’s better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready.