Is desktop SEO dead? seems to be a question that rears its head at least once or twice a year so its no real surprise that as 2016 draws to a close the future of desktop SEO is again making waves!
So what has prompted this latest round of questions on the future of SEO? And Is desktop SEO Dead?
Well that would be Google’s new mobile first index, which Google have just started to roll out and it essentially means that they way your website will get ranked in the search engines is about to change.
Now before you unleash enough sweary words to make even the biggest potty mouth blush, don’t stress it SEO is ever changing and these changes are just Google responding to how we all use the SERPS, so in the long run getting a handle on this will be good for your business.
So, deep breaths, count to 10……. OK are we ready to dive in now? Great lets go.
Let start first with what the hell is the Google mobile first index?
Google mobile first index:
For the purposes of this blog I’m going to assume that you know how Google currently ranks your website,
****cliff notes version***** , Google bots currently scrawl the desktop version of your website in order to rank all your website pages that it can find. So basically its bots visit your site and behave like a real visitor would and it follows the links on your pages that lead to other pages and then ranks each page it finds.
So it used to be these bots would scrawl through the desktop version of your website, and then the pages were indexed and ranked according to what they found when they were on there.
OK , so thats how Google used to index your pages, still with me? ….
Well thats all about to change, now those lovely little Google bots will scrawl your website and index your pages as a MOBILE user, so the mobile version of your website.
So you may be thinking OK so what, well it may seem like a small difference but actually it will have a huge impact on your website rankings (sorry if that caused more sweary words )
Why is this such a big deal?
Well chances are your website looks a bit different (sometimes a lot different) in its mobile view than it does on its desktop view.
In the case of a lot of website they are set up so that links that appear in their desktop version don’t actually appear in the mobile version, which means that the Google bots will have pages of your website it can’t find so as a direct result it won’t be able to index them.
If your number of pages indexed in Google goes down, then its likely that the number of searches you rank for will also go down meaning you are more than likely going to see a drop in your visitor numbers from Google searches.
The next thing that could effect your site thanks to Googles new mobile index first policy, is how mobile friendly your site is.
Now Google have been warning for a good couple of years now that making your website mobile friendly is vital and that sites that aren’t mobile friendly would see a direct hit in their rankings.
So hopefully you have already taken heed of this and your site is mobile friendly.
So what mobile factors are likely to effect your website rankings? How quickly your website loads in mobile view, how easy it is to navigate in mobile view, how clearly the pages can be read etc. There are plenty of websites out there where you can test the mobile friendliness of your website, if you haven’t done this yet then I suggest you do so ASAP.
So what will happen going forward?
Firstly don’t panic if you don’t have a mobile version of your site , Google will still crawl the desktop version of your site and it will still index and rank the pages it can find and read, however if there are pages that aren’t easy for the bot to read or links it can’t find etc then those pages may not be ranked well or at all.
So my advice would be to make sure you have a mobile friendly version of your site as soon as you can.
For now Google will still Crawl desktop and mobile, and have both indexes for ranking purposes however as times moves on those indexes will merge and the indexing and rankings will be based on the mobile first index.
Does that mean it will have a knock on effect on your rankings? Well Google say in theory no it won’t. However they are basing that on the fact that they have been saying for the longest time to make sure your site is mobile friendly.
So if you have a site that isn’t mobile friendly , or links that only show on desktop etc you may see a dip in the number of pages ranked and that will effect your rankings.
How you SEO your website is still essentially the same, you just want to make sure that its SEO friendly in mobile view as well as as a desktop view.
I will have more videos and blogs coming up over the coming weeks to help you through the changes to make sure your site is ready for the switch, so make sure you hit subscribe!