Merkle launches guidance on how to prepare for Google’s move toward mobile-first search indexing

As Google prepares to change the way search indexing is prioritised from desktop to mobile devices, Merkle, the data performance marketing agency, has released new guidance on how to prepare for a mobile-first indexing and how to measure impact.

The Road to Mobile First: A Technical SEO Guide features guidance on mobile configurations as well as mobile-first indexing considerations.

Adam Audette, SVP of SEO at Merkle, explains:

“Mobile search is becoming more prominent every day, making it easy to see why Google has made it a priority. With Google recognizing the importance of mobile search and updating its index to be mobile-first, brands must shift their mentality from a desktop-focused approach to a mobile-first mindset. Capitalizing on the rapidly growing mobile audience is a crucial change that brands must respond to.”

The indexing change was prompted by Google noticing that over half of its searches were coming from mobile devices. As such, the company now plans to rank mobile web content versions as its primary index for all devices.

The search engine’s future vision is clearly mobile, but it’s about more than just making sites compliant. The company has also been busy amending the way sites are ranked for their mobile features. Accelerated Mobile Pages and app streaming are just some of the mobile-centric projects happening at Google.

The report concludes:

With Google prioritising mobile search and updating its index to be mobile-first, brands must shift their mentality from a desktop-focused approach to a mobile-first mindset. This is crucial to the development of websites, creation of content, addition of structured data markup, and analysis of overall performance moving forward. Websites with the same content and structured data mark-up on mobile and desktop are already prepared for Google’s update, while sites that have different content on mobile and desktop should perform an analysis to ensure that rankings remain consistent over time. Websites need to satisfy audiences with experiences that translate to successful sales and repeat customers, regardless of device. By benchmarking the current site performance, webmasters can track the impact of the mobile-first index and react quickly if ranking decreases are seen. Finally, general site speed updates along with mobile implementations like AMP, app indexing, and PWA can provide visitors with the usability they need to browse and convert on mobile devices.