Historically, Google has used the desktop version of a website’s content for crawling, indexing and ranking purposes. This is how Google determines when and where to place a website. Google is rolling out what they are calling “Mobile-First Indexing”, which will shift the focus from the desktop version of your website to the mobile version. This is all part of Google’s ongoing efforts to improve the experience for users on mobile devices.
Mobile-First Indexing means Google will use the mobile version of your website to determine search engine positioning. With most users accessing the web through their smartphones in 2018 and beyond, this makes a lot of sense. They are doing their best to make the internet easier to use on-the-go.
How Will Mobile-First Indexing Affect Your Website?
If your golf course website is not prepared for Mobile-First Indexing, there may be some immediate consequences, like being harder to find in search results. Those with optimized mobile websites will likely be rewarded with better placement on Google, leading to more traffic as a result.
Google is “rolling out” Mobile First Indexing, which means it’s not a light switch change for all websites. Their plan is to roll this new indexing strategy throughout the course of the next 12 months or so, as an effort to not disrupt the whole Google ecosystem and give businesses time to adjust. Recently, many 1-2-1 Marketing customers have been updated to Mobile-First Indexing, which has been accompanied by improvements in rankings on Google’s properties. However, the opposite reaction could be true for those who have outdated mobile experiences or do not have a mobile-optimized website experience at all.
Best Practices for Mobile-First Indexing
Many golf facilities have a mobile version of their website, but that alone isn’t enough. For best performance on search engines, consider the following:
- Your mobile site should contain the same content as your desktop site. This is especially true if you have a separate mobile website, rather than a responsive site.
- Metadata should be present on both desktop and mobile versions of your website.
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and formats well on all devices. Here’s a free scan to determine if your website is mobile-friendly: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.
- Your website should have fast load times on all devices, especially mobile. Here’s a free page speed test from Google: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.
Is Your Website Ready for Mobile-First Indexing?
We realize these quickly changing requirements from Google can be daunting. To help identify if your website’s potential weaknesses regarding Mobile-First Indexing and other SEO matters, we offer The Course Report - http://www.thecoursereport.com/. This is a 100% free tool that audits your website and online presence, shedding light on areas of the digital marketplace that the golf industry frequently ignores.