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Google Set to Prioritize New Mobile Index: How to Prepare Your Website

If you've been watching your website's search engine performance, you know how important mobile-friendly web design is to Google. In fact, Google now processes more searches made from mobile devices than from PCs -- so providing great search results to mobile users is the company's priority.

Google recently announced a fundamental change to the way in which it will handle search queries in the future. The company plans to create two entirely separate web indexes -- one for mobile pages and another for desktop pages. Google will prioritize the mobile versions of pages on its search results pages, and it will display the desktop versions when no mobile pages are available.

Following the change, websites without mobile-friendly designs will likely receive significantly reduced search engine traffic. Is your website ready?

Test Your Website for Mobile Friendliness

Do you know what Google's web crawlers currently see when they view your website? You can find out by visiting the Google test for mobile-friendliness. Enter the name of your website, and then click the "Analyze" button. You'll see a screenshot showing what your website looks like on a mobile device. Hopefully, you'll also see a message telling you that you have a mobile-friendly website.

Mobile Subdomains Could Cause Problems

Many website owners understood the importance of mobile traffic long ago. They set up reduced-feature versions of their websites using the Wireless Application Protocol, and they hosted those websites on separate subdomains. For example, a mobile user who attempted to access companysite.com on a mobile phone might see the website mobile.companysite.com instead.

If you host your mobile content on a separate subdomain, Google is going to prioritize the content on that domain in its search results soon. Does your mobile subdomain contain articles with less text or pictures than their desktop counterparts? If your mobile website gives Google less content to index than your desktop website, you've got some work to do.

The Increased Importance of Responsive Design

The best way to make sure that you will be ready for Google upcoming mobile index change is to have a website with a responsive design. A website with a responsive design displays exactly the same content to every user -- regardless of the device's screen size.

How does responsive design work? Imagine drawing a grid around your website's design elements. You'd have sections within the grid for the header, the main content, the sidebar and the footer. On a desktop computer, the screen would have plenty of room to display the sidebar next to the main content. That might not be the case on a mobile device, though -- so a responsive website might display the sidebar below the main content instead. A responsive website also has the ability to adjust the width of page elements such as text and images for an optimized mobile viewing experience.

Websites 360® Is Ready for Google's New Mobile Index

Do you already host your website on Websites 360®? We have good news for you: We've been ready for this change for a long time. All Websites 360® websites are fully responsive for mobile devices. When Google's indexes change, you won't notice a thing.

If you aren't using Websites 360® yet, get in touch today to find out how we can help you prepare for Google's new mobile index.