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Do you know what a mobile crawl of your site looks like?
Columnist Eric Enge discusses the implications of Google's impending "mobile-first" index, using a case study to illustrate some of the challenges that webmasters and Google alike will face in implementing this change.
If you follow the world of Google and search at all, you’ve heard about Google’s intent to switch to a mobile-first index. In this post, I’m going to briefly review the main points we know about Google’s plans for this new index, but I’m going to go further and detail what we found in a mobile-specific crawl we did of one website.
Based on this data, I’ll also talk about the implications of the switch and some of the challenges that Google faces with this process.
Key points about a mobile-first index
Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.
This situation occurs when publishers are trying to make their mobile site more streamlined, so they don’t include all the content from their desktop version. It’s bad for Google, though, because they currently rank sites based on a desktop crawl — and they may be sending someone to a mobile page that doesn’t have the content the user is looking for.
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