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Mobile First Indexing – Google in 2017

     -     Dec 27th, 2016   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

mobile-first-indexingIt was recently announced that Google is finalizing changes to how they index content to focus attention on mobile content over desktop when serving results. As new and innovative mobile devices flood the market, Google has made it clear throughout 2016 that greater emphasis will be placed on mobile content and mobile searches. Currently, the search engine focuses on returning desktop content over mobile, but shortly this will be changing. The shift to mobile first requires accounting firms and accounting marketing professionals to “step up” SEO and digital marketing efforts to be ready for the change. Although the shift in Google’s approach is currently in the experimental stage, it’s clear that sooner rather than later that mobile will replace desktop in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). To help accounting and other professional service marketers prepare for the transition, FlashPoint Marketing has provided overview steps on how to be ready.

Preparing the Firm’s Site

Below is a summary list of issues to address in preparing the firm’s site for the new Google mobile first approach, including:

  • Is the firm’s site responsive or a dynamic servicing site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across both mobile and desktop platforms, you don’t need to change anything. Well that’s a relief!
  • In my experience, there are many firms that don’t a responsive site. In other words, the desktop and mobile versions are configured differently. Although not ideal there are steps that can be taken to position the firm for Google’s change, including:
    • Ensure that both desktop and mobile versions of your site serve structured. You can verify the equivalence of structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and then compare the output.
    • Avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to specific document content when adding structured data to a mobile site.
    • If you have a mobile version of your site, it’s important to verify that it’s accessible to Googlebot. If you are unsure how to do this, FlashPoint can help guide you through the process.
    • If your site has canonical links, don’t worry, Google will continue to use those links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
  • It’s important to ensure the mobile version of the website has been verified by Google. After all, a well-designed mobile site that’s information rich has limited value if Google is not indexing the content and including it on SERP.
  • If you are in the process of building a new website it’s important to ensure that the mobile version of the site is not an afterthought. It quite common when designing a new site to focus intently on how it appears on desktop and pay less attention to the mobile version. Since it’s clear that Google is undergoing an important shift, accounting marketing professionals need to spend a balanced amount of time between the two designs. Remember, to consider not only how the mobile site appears but also what content is accessible and how easy it is for users to access this content.

Closing Thoughts

Its clear Google is changing how the collect, index and rank content. While it used to be desktop first, the paradigm has shifted to a mobile first environment. For this reason, it’s essential for firms plan their mobile presence to stay ahead of competitors in digital marketing and SEO. If your firm’s website is not responsive, now is the time to consider a new website and FlashPoint Marketing can help.

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