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How to Survive & Thrive after Mobile First Indexing - Rachel Costello, Technical SEO, DeepCrawl


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Google is rolling out mobile-first indexing, and websites are going to be affected. However, there’s no need to panic. In this talk Rachel explains exactly how mobile-first indexing will actually impact work, and what SEOs can do to not only help their websites survive the new indexing system, but thrive. We’ll cover areas for potential site performance decreases to watch out for, the key checks you need to run on your site, and more.

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How to Survive & Thrive after Mobile First Indexing - Rachel Costello, Technical SEO, DeepCrawl

  1. 1. HOW TO SURVIVE & THRIVE AFTER MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING Search Birmingham Rachel Costello, Technical SEO @DeepCrawl SearchBHM
  2. 2. WHAT WE’LL COVER @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  3. 3. WHAT WE’LL COVER Here’s what we’ll be discussing: What exactly is mobile-first indexing? How will site performance be impacted? What are the important checks for mobile-first readiness? @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  4. 4. WHAT IS MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING? @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  5. 5. “Our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” THE MOBILE-FIRST INDEX AT WORK @rachellcostello SearchBHM -Google
  6. 6. Google will NOT have a separate mobile index, it is the same single index. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  7. 7. Mobile-first indexing can be explained with an analogy... @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  8. 8. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  9. 9. Desktop pages will be phased out where there is a mobile alternative. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  10. 10. IMPACT ON WEBSITE PERFORMANCE @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  11. 11. EFFECTS ON SITE PERFORMANCE @rachellcostello SearchBHM Will keyword rankings be affected? Yes, if your mobile content is reduced and doesn’t contain terms the page was previously ranking for on desktop.
  12. 12. IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN RANKINGS @rachellcostello SearchBHM The following need to be consistent across desktop and mobile: Content Metadata Markup Hreflang Images Alt attributes Indexing rules Canonical tags
  13. 13. These elements must also be crawlable and indexable. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  14. 14. Does internal linking need to be equivalent? @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  15. 15. No, but internal linking on mobile needs to be accessible for users and search engines. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  16. 16. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  17. 17. INTERNAL LINKING ON MOBILE @rachellcostello SearchBHM Be mindful of orphaned pages, or increased levels in site depth which could be keeping search engines away from your content.
  18. 18. Structured data will play a vital part in the mobile-first world, and beyond. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  19. 19. STRUCTURED DATA ON MOBILE @rachellcostello SearchBHM “The biggest challenge for mobile-first will be understanding the lightweight needs of the user and applying this via condensed content. Structured data and markup allows for disambiguation when content is not so prevalent on a page in an unstructured form.” Dawn Anderson MD, Move It Marketing
  20. 20. Be cautious of stripping back too far for the mobile experience. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  21. 21. IMPORTANT CHECKS FOR MOBILE-FIRST @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  22. 22. FOR RESPONSIVE SITES Make sure important resources aren’t being blocked e.g. images, JS & CSS. Check for legacy issues such as existing dynamic or separate mobile pages - these will be indexed instead! @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  23. 23. FOR DYNAMIC SITES @rachellcostello SearchBHM Check that the vary: user agent HTTP header is in use. Make sure the right user agent is being served the correct version of a page, whether that’s mobile or desktop.
  24. 24. FOR SEPARATE MOBILE SITES Guide the mobile and desktop user agents to the correct page version with 301 redirects. Make sure your servers have capacity to handle increased crawl rate from Googlebot Smartphone. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  25. 25. FOR ALL SITES Test robots.txt files to make sure Googlebot Smartphone can access your mobile setup. Check your mobile configuration for any display or UX issues. Test mobile-first readiness by using SEO tools that support mobile crawling. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  26. 26. @rachellcostello SearchBHM Source:
  27. 27. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  28. 28. TO LEARN MORE Read our comprehensive mobile-first white paper: http://deepcrawl.actonservice .com/acton/media/31628/mo bile-first-indexing-whitepaper @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  29. 29. TO LEARN MORE Sign up to our upcoming mobile-first webinar: @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  30. 30. KEY POINTS Thorough testing is crucial to be sure your mobile configuration is set up correctly. Run dedicated crawls of separate mobile sites. Use a mobile user agent on responsive/dynamic sites. Make sure everything you want to rank for is included on mobile. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  31. 31. Desktop-first optimisation and desktop-first focus are things the past. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  32. 32. Mobile should be your number 1 priority. @rachellcostello SearchBHM
  33. 33. THANK YOU! Any questions? Send me a tweet: Rachel Costello Technical SEO, DeepCrawl @rachellcostello SearchBHM @DeepCrawl