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Various smartphones and Tablet PCs

Google has officially begun an experiment of mobile-first indexing, making it more important than ever to ensure that websites are updated and look good on all screens. Rank results will now show mobile-friendly and responsive websites more, while non-friendly mobile websites will be ranked lower in search results. This is a huge change in how companies create, showcase, and develop content for both desktop and mobile, and further reiterates the important need of having a solid, mobile-friendly website.

Google will now primarily look at mobile versions of websites first, and defaulting to desktop versions when mobile is not available. While most of Google searches are completed on mobile, Google’s index is desktop. However, with the recent studies released indicating that mobile usage is quickly surpassing desktop, Google is searching to create more changes to make the mobile search process easier. Google will now look at content, links, and structured data of mobile pages if available, meaning that companies now have a large opportunity to create better content in a mobile-friendly way.

Google recently stated “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.”

Mobile Is the Default Screen

With the recent changes and growth in mobile usage, law firms need to further develop and solidify mobile advertising that can draw in new clients while retaining current clients. Ads created specifically for mobile can be powerful and create large opportunities locally. While Google is currently only testing this initiative, they plan to eventually roll out to all users to create a better online experience for all.

If websites do not have a mobile-friendly website, there is no need to worry. Google will simply use the desktop version when ranking the site. However, if mobile users are trying to find simple and easily viewable content, they will quickly move on if the site is not mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. If companies have a responsive site that dynamically changes content based on whether a desktop or mobile device is being used, websites don’t need to be changed and can remain the same.

If your company does not have a mobile website and is looking to improve, begin with a site configuration and audit to determine what is essential versus what extra, unneeded content can be removed. Based on this information, companies can create specific content that shows well on mobile sites and better plan for future changes.

In order to be better prepared, plan to make your website mobile-friendly soon, or plan an audit to review what currently shows on mobile and what improvements can be made. Since this is in an experimental phase currently, plan to routinely check in for when the full mobile-first index rolls out.

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