We live in a mobile world now, which is why Google is currently in the process of transitioning its search results to mobile first. This means that priority will be given to a company’s mobile site, even if it has less information than the desktop site.
Previously, both desktop and mobile users saw only the desktop results. Temporarily, desktop and mobile users will see two different indexes. However, eventually, desktop users will also see mobile results. In essence, Google is flipping its old standard to adjust to a world where 55 percent of users access the company’s search results from mobile devices.
While it is time to panic if your mobile and desktop sites are not the same, resist the urge to quickly throw a mobile site together. Google has confirmed that having no mobile site is better than having a poorly designed mobile website with errors. For those without a mobile site, Google will continue to crawl the desktop version of the site like before.
If you still have separate mobile and desktop versions of your site, you may run into a problem if they aren’t the same or close enough. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to have a scaled down version of a site for mobile. These websites had less information and a very basic design. Some companies still have them. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to transition to a responsive design website because Google is not going to warn you that your rankings may drop ahead of time.
Not only do responsive design websites provide users with the same information regardless of the device they are using to view your site and will prevent your rankings from tanking the moment Google goes all mobile, they also eliminate the need to maintain two different websites. While it takes a significant amount of effort to make the change, every website should have already switched to a responsive design. Google is just trying to force the entire industry to finally standardize responsive design.
Even though strictly speaking, there is no boost for mobile sites. Content that is not mobile friendly may not rank as well. For those still resistant to making website changes, Google doesn’t expect rankings to change much once the transition is complete. However, you should take that with a grain of salt because unprepared websites that don’t already have a user friendly mobile design will be affected in some capacity. We just don’t know what that will look like yet.
Unfortunately, Google isn’t going to make a huge announcement when it finishes transition to mobile first. There’s also no way of knowing when Google makes the change for an individual site. We’re all going to have to wait and see how it all shakes out in the end.