Cindy Krum’s Engage Conference afternoon keynote started as many keynote presentations do – with a quote. After trying to find the perfect, insightful words to fit her presentation, she came up empty-handed. She realized she needed to create her own.
“Google’s ability to index and rank content generally lags behind the changing needs of modern technology.” – Cindy Krum
As she introduced the audience to the concept of Mobile First Indexing, Krum pointed out that we have to consider multiple platforms, devices and modalities when it comes to emerging technology. “Replacement technology is always about to be the new norm.” she pointed out.
Mobile is changing and the category currently includes everything that’s neither laptop nor desktop is being considered mobile. This means search is changing too. Take Google Home, it’s part of Google and as such Google wants it to search so they can monitise it. Unlike ever other type of search, Google Home returns justONE canonical result for per query. Part of the reason search is changing is driven by voice search. 41.6% have done a voice search in past 3 months? Why? All these new technologies that don’t have browsers or keyboards but they can search. All they have is voice.
So, what is mobile first indexing? It’s a process in which search engines create a list of results to answer specific questions. Indexes have an organizing principle. Urls are the unique identifier for SEO. That’s how the index has worked previously but Mobile First Indexing is going to be different. Mobile First Indexing will include:
- Apps – Cloud info & feeds – Google actions – web
- Web – websites – pwa – amp – pwamp – instant apps.
Krum shared her big hunch as we move towards Mobile First Indexing (she emphasized this is purely her speculation), SPECULATION: Mobile-First Indexing ± URL. And she sees this as a good thing. We’ve been conditioned to make sure web content fits tightest mobile requirements. That will no longer be important. It will be more encompassing and more content will be able to rank.
For many marketers and brands this may not seem mission-critical but Krum challenged that notion and provided some sound advice.
Some action items and cautions for those who might not care:
- Minimally make sure all your pages pass the Mobile Friendly Test.
- Schema – helps Google understand what the data is. Google can’t crawl everything (and won’t).
- Google-Hosted content – If Google hosts it, it’s easier and less expensive than crawling.
- APIs – Google is getting data through APIs. Again, it’s easier and they don’t have to spend money and resources to crawl.
- Security is a big concern – Google is going to push hard on https, so if you haven’t made the switch now would be a good time.
And lastly, if something weird is happening, take time to test, test, test using tools like those found on Mobile Moxie.