What is Mobile-First Indexing and How to Increase Your Search Rankings

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A smartphone displaying a mobile optimised website, with descriptions of the elements that rank highly for mobile-first indexing

Back in November 2016, Google announced their plans to introduce a completely new way of ranking websites: mobile-first indexing.

Google decided to make this change in response to a huge increase in searches undertaken using a mobile phone.

A massive 77% of mobile searches now happen at home or at work, with only 17% of searches taking place when people are on the go. Previously based around desktop use, Google is switching their ranking factors to give priority to websites that are best optimised for mobile users. The first wave was rolled out in March this year, and the effects are now starting to show.

The introduction of mobile-first indexing will have huge implications for website rankings, making it important that websites have a mobile-friendly site that ticks the right boxes to satisfy Google's ranking system. Paying careful attention to the optimisation of your website is key to ensuring that your rankings do not dip, and your clients can continue to find you when searching online. 

A few ways to make sure that Google will still rank your website highly is to make sure that your website ticks the following boxes:

  • Your website is responsive (this is a website that is designed to adapt depending on the size of the screen the user is viewing the site on. Think of it like water adapting to the container it's poured into - a responsive website will adapt to the screen size)
  • Your site loading speed is as fast as possible (more than 53% of users will move onto a competitor's website if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load)
  • Your website is easy to use on a mobile device (mobile-friendly websites need a design that is simple to navigate around. This is often referred to as 'designing for the fat finger', for example, designing large buttons to minimise error - adding to good user experience)


Mobile-first indexing is a big step for Google, making it even more important that your website is as mobile-friendly as possible. To make sure that your Google rankings stay high, make sure that your website is well designed for mobile devices. 

See how your website is performing with a free SEO Audit, or for more information get in touch with our digital experts on 0114 2509 578.


post by Alice
Client Portal.