7 Ways a Mobile-First Index Impacts SEO

Google is continually changing how they index and rank sites. Here’s how a mobile-first search index might influence how we approach SEO.

Google is continually changing the ways they index and rank sites.

I have seven insights on a mobile-first search engine index and how it may impact rankings and SEO.

  1. Mobile-First Informational needs are changing.

It is not appropriate to say what type of content is best for mobile-first indexes. Every search query and ranking in Google for it can differ.

Here’s a selection of some common queries:

  • Long-tail queries
  • Informational questions (Who starred in …)?
  • Local search queries
  • Transactional queries
  • Research queries
  • How do I query?
  • Conversational search
  • Personal Search

Mobile Search for Personal Search & Conversational Search

Personal Search and Conversational Search are two of the most recent developments in how people search. This is made possible by mobile searches.

Searching on smartphones has made it easier for people to explore. This should be taken into account when designing your search strategy.

Personal Search

Google categorizes Personal Searches into three categories

  • Problem-solving
  • Things to do
  • Exploring around me

Conversational search

Conversational search refers specifically to the use of natural language in search query queries. This means that users speak to their devices, expecting a genuine reply.

This is another significant change in how people search. It’s changing the way we think about content creation.

Search Engine Journal, among others, has seen an increase in traffic due to refashioning content to meet mobile users’ needs.

According to Google’s page on Conversational Search

  • Mobile searches for “do I need” have increased more than 65%. You might ask, “How much should I retire?” “What size generator do I require?” and “How much paint do my eyes need?”
  • Mobile searches for “should i” have grown to over 65%.
  • Consider, for example, what laptop should be bought? Should I buy a home? What SPF should I use? And what should I have for dinner?
  • Mobile searches beginning with “can I?” have increased over 85%.
  • So, for example, “can you use PayPal on Amazon?” “Can you buy stamps from Walmart” and “can my dog travel on an airplane seat?”

Mobile Search Trends Influence Content Relevance Trends

The above types of queries are increasing in popularity for both conversational and personal search and signify a shift in the way people seek information. That is why content needs to adapt.

A different kind of search query can be answered using another type of web page. It may have different content lengths and require different levels of depth, diagrams, and maps.

Google is not something that it can be generalized. Mobile users do not always prefer Short-form content.

A great place to start is thinking about the most popular mobile queries.

Next, think about what problem this search query is trying to solve. Then consider the best solution that will work for most users. Create a content-based reply that is appropriate for the situation.

You’ll see that the most common answer to some queries might differ depending on how you use it. +Some questions might require an optimal desktop solution.

2. Meet the Needs of Most Users

Multiple answers can be found when users identify the problem they are trying to solve.

The SERPs will show you that there are many kinds of sites. Some sites might be review sites, while others might provide information.

These differences show that users are trying to solve multiple problems. Google is likely to rank the SERPs based upon the most popular user intent. The answer that pleases most users is the one that Google recommends.

You can use the SERPs to help you decide which type of answer you should give on a page.

Sometimes, this means that most users prefer to access mobile content and short-form information.

Sometimes, it’s 50/50. Most users prefer in-depth information or multiple product choices over fewer.

Do not be afraid of the mobile index. It doesn’t change much.

It’s just an additional layer to help understand the most appealing content type (mobile or laptop, desktop or combination) and the intent.

It is an additional step towards understanding which most users are and then asking how to please them.

3. Time has an impact on observed user intention

Each search query requires a particular type of result, as the intent behind each query differs. Mobile searches add a layer to the user intent.

The user’s intention changes as the user move through time.

The time of day a query is submitted can impact the device used, which will reflect the user’s information and needs.

It’s not just about having relevant keywords on the page related to what a user is typing.

Another consideration is how your website is relevant to someone at certain times of the day on a given device. And how you will solve the most crucial information needs at that time.

What signals could Google be looking at? The device could be a signal.

Google claims that the time of the day may also be a sign because device usage can fluctuate over the day. However, intent can change as well.

4.Defining Relevance for a Mobile-First Index

Google’s focus 100% on user intent profoundly impacts what “relevant content” actually means, especially for a mobile-first index.

Different people search for various things on other devices. It is not that the mobile index is changing how rankings will be determined.

Google’s ability to understand user intent and change it is sometimes a result of changing the user intent for a search query.

These core algorithm updates may include changes to Google’s understanding and satisfaction of users.

SEOs are worried about click-through statistics. They’re missing an important metric.

CTR isn’t the only measurement tool the search engine has.

Is CTR 100% a reliable indicator of the state of a mobile-first index?

Google can’t understand if a SERP solved a user’s problem if the user doesn’t click through.

This is where Viewport Time becomes a comparable metric.

Viewport Time is a variation of Viewport Time that search engines use to understand mobile users.

However, the SEO industry is still grappling with CTR.

Feel like there is a missing piece to the ranking puzzle? This is one such piece.

Google’s understanding about what users are looking for is improving all the time. That has an impact on rankings. This should also impact how we provide the best possible experience for these queries.

One of the most important ways these solutions have improved is by understanding who uses a specific type of device.

What does it mean if someone asks a question about a device but not another device?

One possible answer is that age may influence the question being asked on a given device tool.

In the Beauty and Health niche, searchers search for different types of things based on their device.

Mobile devices have a lot of top Beauty and Health questions. These include topics related to tattoos and nails salons.

Beauty and Health Desktop Queries are examples of older users searching for beauty products and stores like Saks.

It isn’t brilliant to think that you don’t have enough synonyms. This isn’t what relevance is all about.

Relevance isn’t about synonyms for keywords. Relevance often refers to problem-solving at specific times of the day, with certain devices and for specific age groups.

This isn’t something you can solve by adding synonyms to your web page.

5. Mobile First is Not about User-Friendliness

Convenience when fulfilling a user’s intention is an essential aspect of the mobile-first index.

  • Do the users’ intent behind the search question require a quicker answer or a shorter answer.
  • Is the website difficult to navigate?
  • Do you allow users to compare products on the same page?

You can now answer these questions by adding “on mobile,” “on a tablet,” and “on a desktop” to the end.

6. Is it possible for a visitor to understand your content?

Google can determine if users understand your content. Users vote using their click and seaport time data. Quality raters provide additional data about specific queries.

Google can make predictions based on enough data. This is where machine learning comes in.

If it is hard to read content, this may reflect in the ranking of sites.

If the topic is complicated and the solution solves the problem, this might be the best answer.

While we are talking about Google, it’s still helpful to know the state-of-the-art in search.

Microsoft published a fascinating study that teaches a machine how to predict the interests of a user. The paper is entitled Predicting Interesting Textual Things.

This research sought to understand what makes content exciting and causes users to keep clicking on another page.

In general, I like content that is easily understood by a broad range of people.

While this is not an essential consideration for mobile-first sites, it is necessary to remember that people with different backgrounds can access the Internet site using multiple devices.

Universal popularity is becoming more complex, so it may be beneficial to appeal to the broadest possible audience to a mobile-first index.

7. Google’s Algo Intent Doesn’t Have Changed

other way to look at it is that Google’s desire not to disappoint users has remained consistent.

What has changed is users’ age, what they want, when they wish it, and what device it is on. Google’s algorithm remains likely unchanged.

The mobile-first index can also be seen as a logical response to users’ changing needs. It’s wrong to see it as Google forcing web publishers into adapting to Google.

Web publishers need to change with their users.

That is ultimately the best way to view the mobile-first search index. This is not a solution to Google’s needs but a response that addresses the evolving needs and wants of the user.

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Krishna Chaitanya
Krishna is a digital media strategist with experience in the media and publishing industries, He is also the lead marketing strategist for Hustle Chronicle. He is currently employed at Intentify Media & resides in India.

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