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Google mobile-first indexing is about to change SEO as you know it.

If your SEO game is good, and you want to keep it that way (or it’s not so great and you want to improve it), then this blog post is for you. Because within a few weeks or months, Google is finally going live with its mobile-first indexing initiative, and you’ll need to be prepared for the main event. Google mobile-first indexing could have a huge impact on your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs), so let’s dive right in to what you can expect and how to help your website maintain or improve its status.

What’s this Mobile-First Indexing All About?

Google is about to change the way it indexes web pages. In the past, the search giant analyzed the desktop version of a website to index it on search engine results pages. Now, with mobile usage dominating desktop, Google will soon be indexing the mobile version of websites instead.

For brands and businesses, this means if your mobile website does not mirror your desktop site (or you don’t have a mobile site), your rankings on the SERPs could drop. Big problem.

Prepare for the Big Change

If you have a responsive website (referenced here on mobile search), then you probably don’t have a lot to worry about. That’s because responsive design usually takes care of all the items mobile-first indexing cares about, like your content, internal links, page load speed, among other factors. That being said, you should touch base with your SEO consultant to make sure the new indexing won’t ding you for any issues you can take care of ahead of time.

Now, if your mobile site and your desktop site have separate URLs (dedicated sites) or you don’t have a mobile site yet, you’ll want to get to work. Google’s mobile indexing wants to see that all your content is brought over from desktop to mobile. Oftentimes, on mobile sites, we see that some content is hidden from the user. Google wants the user experience on mobile to be just as good – and thorough – as it is on your desktop version. You’ll want to consider where content is placed on your mobile pages as well (user experience is crucial for SEO).

Second, make sure the internal links you use on desktop carry over to mobile. Google wants to see that you’re giving mobile users all the options they’d have if they visited your page on desktop. Give ‘em the links.

Finally, page load speed is critical with Google mobile-first indexing. Your pages should load within three seconds. If they are taking any longer than that, again, speak with an SEO professional who can help shave a few seconds off the load time. Mobile users aren’t waiting for pages to load, so even if Google misses it, your visitors aren’t going to.

The new mobile indexing from Google is going to shake up the way SEO has been done in the past. The good news is, time is on your side – for now.

Sheila Hart-O’Connor is a word geek who is passionate about all things digital. She specializes in advertising and marketing copy, with a lean toward SEO, social media, and blogging.