Mobile-first indexing changes game for direct marketers
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Mobile-first indexing changes game for direct marketers

June 15, 2017

shutterstock_370817771Google has announced mobile optimized sites will now be show preference when indexing websites. This is a 180-degree turnabout from the way Google had previously indexed, meaning desktops sites where indexed first, then mobile versions. By flipping this, Google has shown how important mobile is to the future of the internet and marketing.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as nearly three-fourths of Americans own smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center; that number climbs to more than 90 percent in the highly desirable 18-29-year-old segment. Although Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes tweeted in November, “we’re aiming for a close to quality-neutral launch,” which means the mobile-first approach won’t at first dramatically shake up rankings, Google has made an important statement about the future.

For marketers, this is a sea-change in how they must think about their customers. Geolocation and other technologies now come into play in a relevant way. Webmasters have to embrace responsive websites, which modifies the view to the customer, based on the type of screen they are using. Up until recently, though, the big benefit of responsive sites was efficiency; webmasters only had to worry about keeping one site current, rather than a desktop version and a mobile version. Google’s mobile-first indexing, however, means having a mobile website is more critical than ever.
If you already have a responsive site, this is not a big change. You may need, however, to optimize your mobile site version. Use tabs, expandable boxes and other design elements to make smartphone-friendly webpages and layouts. Ironically, in the past, Google might have considered these tactics on desktop sites to be “spammy”, but for mobile, it’s completely acceptable.

Speed is of the essence for SEO. Fast page-loading speeds is one of the ways mobile pages are indexed first. Look at image sizes and layouts to improve load times, as well as minimizing redirects.

As mobile sites become more vital to marketers and their customers, it’s clear out-of-home advertising technology, like Darwill’s IP Tracking technology, can make the investment in mobile even more relevant.

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