We’ve all had acid indigestion from Google’s ongoing algorithm tweaks. But those are child’s play compared to its mobile-first initiative.

To set the scene, jump back to late 2016 when mobile web traffic, 51.3%, eclipsed desktop traffic, 48.7%, for the first time. This long growing trend has led Google to flip-flop the way it evaluates websites. Instead of surveilling your desktop site first and then your mobile, the new strategy will prioritize the mobile site first, and then the desktop site. In other words, the position of the search terms you’re using will depend on the performance of your mobile site.

Mobile sites that are slower than molasses and companies that have no mobile presence will get punished (or penalized as Google’s PR says).

Know your mobile options

Full implementation of the new mobile search is not expected until early 2019 or earlier. We’re letting all of our clients know how because some website scenarios will take longer than others. Let’s take a look:

1. You already have a mobile responsive website. This means that your site is contorted to fit on a range of mobile and tablet devices. You need to focus on user experience, which includes fast pages, clear and finger-friendly navigation, and possible optimization of images and videos. Work with your developer to hide portions of your site that aren’t useful on mobile.

2. You don’t have a mobile website. The short answer is, “get one.” Depending on how your site is glued together, it may make more sense to rebuild.

3. You have sites in different languages. Google’s guidance is to create standalone sites in each language.

People also ask if they need a standalone mobile site. The answer is tied to what you plan to do with your site, e.g. e-commerce, and how much better and faster you can make it for your visitors.

Learn More about Mobile First.

Getting your site ready for mobile-first indexing

How Does Mobile-First Indexing Work, and How Does It Impact SEO?

Preparing your website for mobile SEO / Google