Swapping to Mobile Index First

The day was 26/03/2018. Crying, screaming and general disturbances were heard from any website not properly mobile responsive. Why? Google finally rolled out the Mobile First Index.

Before we delve into the facts and data, let’s make something clear…
Google is not trying to start Twitter beef between iOS and Android users.

Windows Phone users:

Just like any great leading figure would. Google loves all Mobile Devices equally!

One of many things that make our Digital Marketing landscape such an exciting industry is the fact that it’s ever-changing and not set in stone. This is especially true for us SEO fanatics. I personally think that Google is always trying to keep us on our toes with the earthquakes in SERP rankings.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the mobile share in the search has slowly been overtaking desktop and tablets. Think to yourself, what device is always in your hands reach and with you when the insatiable craving for a good Chinese dish breaks out, or you just really need to find an ATM.

Google has been very open about optimising the mobile search experience for some years now. This is also due to the rising number of users utilising their smartphones instead of other devices.


Let’s have a look at some data!

What is Mobile First Index?

To summarise everything into one sentence:
“Google is now using the mobile version of a website first to determine rankings.“

This is due to the fact that since 2012, Google has been witnessing a steady rise in search queries conducted from smartphones. Fast-forward to 2017 and we can conclude the following:

  • – B2B queries [Business to Business] – 50% done from a mobile device
  • – B2C queries [Business to Customer] – 60% done from a mobile device
    • – *reference study by Sistrix [data above and below]
      • – from 350 billion impressions and 250 million clicks

This industry shift can be easily visualised by looking at data from Germany:

Based on the published data by researchers like Sistrix, this initiative to base rankings on mobile versions of the websites seemed to be mainly fuelled by the discrepancy between the click-through rates of Top 10 SERP results on a mobile device against desktop users.

About 60% of desktop users will click on the 1st result, then there is a sharp decline, with the 2th result receiving only about 14.9% clicks. The discrepancy is lower on mobile users, 1st result receiving 53% clicks, compared to 22% for the 2nd result.

This aligns with the ongoing Google’s initiative to make the SERPs more varied and dynamic. More variety of results for the customer – better user experience and delivery.

How does Mobile First Index work?

One of the common misinterpretations is that Google has created a separate mobile index.

This isn’t true, let us show you how it works:

  • – Google crawls the Mobile Version first
    • – if the mobile version is not accessible it will crawl the desktop version
  • – Rankings retrieved for both mobile and desktop


If you have both the desktop and mobile versions optimised well, Google will boost your mobile rankings above the desktop rankings. Meaning it’s now more important than ever to do both correctly.

More will become clear in the upcoming weeks. But…


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