Recently, Google decided to primarily use mobile indexing for search engine result pages (SERPS), rather than desktop usage of websites – and the move was directly linked to the increase in searches conducted from mobile devices.

Because people increasingly search for content on their mobile devices more than on their desktops, how you use online content matters today in ways that it didn’t only a short time ago.

Here’s the thing…

Reports, like those in an article at Search Engine Land, show that presently over 50% of search traffic is generated from smartphones and tablets. These numbers will likely continue to grow at a fairly rapid rate.

And the other thing is this…

Mobile vs. desktop queries produce different rankings nearly 80% of the time.

If these reports are accurate – or even close – online content that is not mobile ready risks losing precious visibility. This also means that ‘what you see may not be what you get’ when it comes to evaluating your content’s SEO.

Your content matters to mobile devices in different ways than it does on a desktop. And though you’ve probably never given it much thought before, you should be optimizing your content for both to avoid missing out on opportunities to reach more of the people who are looking for what you do and offer.

Now that Google has switched to a mobile-first index, here are some factors you’ll want to consider:

  • Mobile-first indexing means that Google will use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.
  • Google continues to have one single index that they use for serving search results.
  • Google does not have a “mobile-first index” that’s separate from their main index.
  • Previously, the desktop version was indexed, but Google will be increasing the use of the mobile versions of content.
  • Google will show the mobile version of pages in Search results and also in Google cached pages.
  • Site owners will see significantly increased crawl rate from the Smartphone Googlebot.

Finally, here is what Google says about how content matters today with the use of Mobile-first indexing:

Mobile-first indexing is about how we gather content, not about how content is ranked. Content gathered by mobile-first indexing has no ranking advantage over mobile content that’s not yet gathered this way or desktop content. Moreover, if you only have desktop content, you will continue to be represented in our index.

Having said that, we continue to encourage webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly. We do evaluate all content in our index — whether it is desktop or mobile — to determine how mobile-friendly it is.

As always, ranking uses many factors. We may show content to users that’s not mobile-friendly or that is slow loading if our many other signals determine it is the most relevant content to show.