Do This to Stay on Top of SEO in 2019

Search engine optimization is an ever-shifting landscape where guidelines change and different aspects wax and wane in importance. This year may see one of the largest changes yet. As more and more internet users surf the web on their mobile devices, Google has started to stress the mobile versions of web pages in their indexing of search engine results.

Different Devices and Websites

Different devices, like mobile phones and personal computers, have different screen shapes and sizes and other specifications. A web page that works well with one will not necessarily load well or look good on a different device.

This has driven more and more websites to offer different versions of their website, so each device is matched with the version that best fits with it. Some opt for entirely different URLs for their mobile versions, while others have index tags that switch the version for the user. Also, more site builders choose responsive web design tools that will automatically conform a site’s specs to the device it loads on.

In the past, Google has ranked their search results based on a number of criteria developed for the desktop versions of websites. The mobile websites were simply treated as alternate versions. This is all changing, though, and fast.

Mobile-First Indexing

Google is beginning the process of switching the rankings of search results for some sites to their mobile versions. This will happen gradually, but the goal is that within a few years Google will optimize the internet for mobile users and search results will focus on this metric.

Site by site, Google is switching over to mobile-first indexing. It is doing this, for now, only with those sites whose mobile versions are well optimized. However, the plan is to eventually switch everyone over.

Mobile-first indexing means that when Google evaluates your site for ranking in their Google searches, it will assign a score to your website based on its mobile version. For the moment, those websites whose indexes are still based on their desktop versions are not going to be hurt, but it is not clear how long this situation will last.

RELATED ARTICLE: Get to Know Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

Don’t Be Left Behind

The internet is headed in a mobile direction and it’s not going to come back. Those websites without good mobile optimization are already losing out on a huge portion of web traffic, but soon they will fall down in SEO rankings as their poorly optimized mobile sites become the standard by which Google ranks them for searches.

Pretty soon, nobody will be able to afford to neglect their mobile website versions.

What Can You Do?

Use this checklist to maintain or improve your SEO as the internet goes mobile.

  • Give your mobile version the same content you can get from your desktop version. Make your mobile versions crawlable and indexable.
  • Your mobile version should have the same structured data as the desktop version, and all URLs on mobile pages should be the mobile versions of those URLs.
  • The metadata for both mobile and desktop versions should be equivalent. It is important to note that equivalent does not mean identical, just that it has the same information and keywords.
  • Verify your mobile website version in Google Search Console.
  • If your mobile version is on a separate host, verify that the servers can handle an increased crawl rate.
  • Include Open Graph and Twitter cards on your mobile version.

In the early days, everyone who got on the internet was using a desktop or a laptop device, and dialing onto the internet through a phone line. While desktops are probably not going to disappear like dial-up internet connection, mobile devices like smart phones and touch pads are starting to dominate the internet.

Staying current with best practices is not such a difficult thing. It is simply a matter of giving your mobile version the same attention you have given to your desktop version. Soon enough, your SEO in 2019 is going to depend on it.

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