According to searchengineland.com, Google is hopeful that its new mobile-first index will go live by the end of this year.
Once the mobile first index launches, there will be a shift in how Google looks at website content. Google will start looking primarily at mobile, rather than desktop content to rank results. As of August 2016, the search engine sees 60% of searches from mobile as opposed to desktop.
This uptick in mobile searches has prompted the search engine to begin ranking websites based on page loading time.
What does that mean for website owners? Effectively, if your website is not mobile-friendly, then your ranking on Google will be impacted in search, even for desktop users.
While the changes are expected be rolled out by the end of 2017, you can begin preparing now.
What can I do to prepare?
Boost your page Speed
Page speed is a measurement that tells us how fast your page loads. A standard metric used by search engines is “time to first byte”, or how long it takes to receive the first byte of information from the website.
Research shows Google may be measuring time to first byte when it considers page speed. Additionally, search engine crawlers may use up their crawl bandwidth budget when crawling slower pages and this could negatively affect a site’s search engine rank.
Focus on User Experience
When users come first, websites benefit on a variety of fronts. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time spent on each page. Longer load times also negatively affect conversions.
If you have a slow mobile or desktop experience currently, then you may want to consider putting some work into increasing your mobile page speed.
The updates to Google’s mobile index will likely launch at the end of 2017, but don’t worry, you still have time to prepare.