After nearly two years in the making and a lot of careful testing, Google announced in late March the rolling out of mobile-first indexing. This means that Google has changed its algorithm to favor the mobile version of websites rather than the desktop version, and that mobile version is what will be indexed and ranked in searches.
The reason Google is doing this makes sense.
“Since 2016, mobile traffic is the primary way consumers access the web, therefore Google needed to find a way to give them what they want.” said Jason Tabeling, BrandMuscle’s Executive Vice President, Performance Marketing.
What does this mean for national brands? To start, if your local businesses don’t currently have mobile-friendly websites, you need to get on that immediately. Our State of Local Marketing Report tells us that 36% of local business partners do not even know if their websites are mobile responsive, meaning your local business partners will see the downside of this algorithm change it if it’s not correctly updated quickly.
“This change means that national brands need to have their mobile experience in line with best practices,” Tabeling said. “Going forward, sub-par mobile experiences will make it much harder for consumers to even find your sites via organic rankings. Having a best-in-class mobile experience is no longer optional, it’s a must.”
Google provides tools like this one for brands and local business partners to test their mobile page speed and gives insights into how to fix any issues with the site. At BrandMuscle, we’ve been preparing for this algorithm change for more than two years.
“BrandMuscle has watched the trends, prepared our teams, and built our products for the implications of Google changes,” Tabeling said. “A perfect example is LocationBuilder, our consumer engagement platform that enables businesses to create, publish, and manage location-specific microsites and campaign landing pages. This was purposefully architected from the ground up with mobile-page speed and responsive design in mind. LocationBuilder has given our clients a leg up on their competition for that reason.”
What’s next? Google tells us that in July 2018, slow-loading content will not perform well in search engine results on both desktop and mobile searches. As Google continues to put the consumer’s needs for quick and accurate information first, your websites need to be constantly updated and optimized to keep up with the changing trends.