Last Friday, Google announced on their Webmaster Central Blog that a new “mobile-first” index is now live – albeit in an experimental capacity. This is a big, fat, important piece of news that anyone in the automotive or digital industry should be aware of.
From the announcement on Friday, Google elaborates:
“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, 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. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.” – GWCB
What does this mean for dealers using the Dealer.com platform?
Dealer.com has been putting mobile first for a long time. With Seamless Websites we deliver an optimal website experience across desktop, tablet and mobile. Our sites are built from the ground up with mobile in mind. And we’ve been there every step of the way – from so-called ‘Mobilegeddon’ to the Mobile-Friendly Update. Our big focus on mobile makes sense considering over 60 percent of searches in the automotive vertical are now made on a mobile device.
The specific language used in Google’s announcement also speaks favorably to our platform:
“If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.”
This means misleading claims that our platform is inferior in Google’s eyes because it is not 100 percent “responsive” will cause less confusion in the marketplace. In reality, Seamless Websites are a hybrid of responsive and adaptive technologies and therefore better than 100 percent responsive, but because of the language Google used back in 2014, the true mobile-friendliness has often been contested. With the Seamless Website platform, we can offer customers the best and simplest way to deliver an optimal user experience.
The new inclusion from the quote above mentions a “dynamic serving site” – exactly what Seamless Websites are. Mobile-related announcements from Google in the past mentioned only “responsive”. As a result of this new statement, Dealer.com Website clients have reassurance that our platform is indeed mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes.
Dealer.com Director of Product Management – Websites, Bob George, had this to say following Friday’s news:
“Dealer.com’s Seamless Website platform is well-positioned to take advantage of Google’s recent announcement regarding mobile-first indexing. Our hybrid dynamic serving and responsive platform ensures optimal mobile content and user experience while providing extensive configuration and customization capabilities. Dealers can be assured that Dealer.com’s platform will continue to evolve with shopper behavior – the largest of which has been the switch to mobile.”
What is mobile-first indexing and how will it work?
Before this change, Google’s algorithm would look at the desktop version of a site and determine how to rank it organically for user searches. While Google would review the relationship of the desktop site to the mobile site and display the appropriate content for mobile, the mobile version always came in second in determining the site’s rank on the search engine results page. Until now.
Now, Google will primarily use the mobile version of the site to decide where to rank it organically for a given keyword or voice search. In a nutshell, a fast-loading, user-friendly mobile experience will be more important than ever.
“Google will use the mobile content as a primary ranking factor, whether or not you are searching from desktop or mobile.”
What should I do in response to this news?
In short, if you’re using a Dealer.com Website, you don’t need to do anything. Our sites are already optimized for an excellent mobile experience because the content on each page dynamically adjusts for a tailored, device-specific experience. Google also suggests to “Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.” This is something baked into our platform and is then expanded upon with Dealer.com SEO services.
If your site content is noticeably different between mobile and desktop, however, it might be time to take a closer look at your website strategy and align the versions.
Any questions? Feel free to comment below. As with all big industry news, we’ll keep you up-to-date and are actively tracking the rollout of Google’s Mobile-First Index.
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External Resources (Marketing Land)
Jessica Cronin is a Senior SEO Strategist at Dealer.com