Up until now, Google scanned desktop versions of a website and gathered data that allowed it to rank the website’s mobile version. Moving into 2018, Google will start to do the opposite and will instead rely on the mobile version of a website, to enable it to rank a desktop version.
Some elements of your mobile website will need to be checked to ensure your website will not be penalised:
- Content & Links: Need to be mobile friendly, accessible and current.
- Page Speed: Google requires all mobile friendly websites to load below 3 seconds to avoid negative impacts to rankings.
- Structured Data: needs to be present and formatted correctly.
- Intrusive Interstitials (pop-up windows): they tend to block most or all page content, leading to a bad user experience and may need to be removed.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages: or AMP, is a google project designed as an open standard for any publishers to have pages load quickly on mobile devices.
- Canonical pages: are pages that have canonical tag. This is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Canonical tags prevent problems caused by duplicate content appearing on multiple URLs, which affects search engine rankings.
Google will also require both AMP and canonical pages to match on websites or potentially lose visibility. Google hopes these changes will have minimal impacts on rankings, instead it hopes that it will promote a better website user experience.