This shouldn't come as a surprise...
Google is going through a major change in how they rank websites.
Google changes their algorithm hundreds of times a year, but most changes are minor. This change, however, is one of the "major" changes. Google recently announced they were underway with their long-foretold mobile-first search index change. If you aren’t prepared, the mobile-first index could result in a major change in your search engine rankings. If you want to keep your ranking, you need to be prepared before Google implements their mobile-first indexing.
The good news:
Google has a tool for you
to test your website.
It is simple and takes 30 seconds.
Why the change?
Today, everyone has smartphones with them, constantly communicating and looking for information.
The desktop version of a site might be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. The version that's not mobile-friendly requires the user to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. Users find this a frustrating experience and are likely to abandon the site. Alternatively, the mobile-friendly version is readable and immediately usable.
In the USA, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Interestingly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.
What is the best mobile strategy?
Google recommends using responsive web design because it:
- Makes it easier for users to share and link to your content with a single URL.
- Helps Google’s algorithms accurately assign indexing properties to the page rather than needing to signal the existence of corresponding desktop/mobile pages.
- Requires less engineering time to maintain multiple pages for the same content.
- Reduces the possibility of the common mistakes that affect mobile sites.
- Requires no redirection for users to have a device-optimized view, which reduces load time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site’s user experience (see Pitfalls when detecting user agents" section for details).
- Saves resources when Googlebot crawls your site. For responsive web design pages, a single Googlebot user agent only needs to crawl your page once, rather than crawling multiple times with different Googlebot user agents to retrieve all versions of the content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of your site’s content and keep it appropriately fresh.
If you're interested in learning all their is to know about this topic,
check out Neil Patel's Step-by-Step Guide to Leveraging Google's Mobile-First Index.