How to Tell if Your Mobile Site Ranks in Google’s Mobile-First Index

Is the Mobile-First Index Going to Hurt Your Business’ Rankings?

Here at Tandem, we still get clients asking whether their website is mobile-friendly or not; and our answer to that is typically, “if it is not already, you are way behind in the game.” Now, more than ever, this is going to be true.

Google’s mobile-first index means that if your site is not mobile-friendly, and if your content is not mobile-friendly, it is not going to rank as it would on desktop. Simply put: even if your content ranks on desktop, it might not rank on mobile if it is not mobile-friendly. During the announcement of Google’s mobile-first index, the search engine explained that they will rank mobile search listings based on the mobile version of the content.

Quick Mobile Search Stats:

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  • Over 55% of emails are now opened on mobile devices.
  • It is estimated that mobile devices will account for 68% of all internet traffic by 2017.
  • 4 in 5 consumers use mobile to shop.
  • Searches are taking place more on mobile than on desktop in 10 countries, which include the U.S. and Japan.


Digital marketing companies in Fort Lauderdale report that since most searches are now being conducted via mobile device, Google’s mobile-first index is the search engine’s attempt to deliver the best possible results to those searchers. The mobile-first index is already in trial to be the primary index that Google uses, so that searchers receive the same results regardless of whether they are searching on mobile device or desktop.

What does the mobile-first index mean for my business and brand?

This discussion is still murky territory among top digital marketing companies in Fort Lauderdale. In a blog from Search Engine Land, it is explained that the mobile-first index will not affect Google’s overall rankings, and mentions that top Googlers Gary Illyes and Paul Haahr said that the change should not affect rankings. However, the search engine has said many times that if your site is not deemed mobile-friendly, it will not rank as well as those that are.

The important thing to keep in mind when it comes to Google’s mobile-first index is that Google already indexes desktop content and that this content is served both on desktop and mobile. The change comes when a special, mobile-friendly ranking system is then used to push mobile-friendly content. Because of this added step, if your brand content is not mobile-friendly, it may not be pushed when compared to a competitor with mobile-friendly content.

How can I make sure that my mobile site ranks in Google’s mobile-first index?

  1. Use a responsive design and don’t skimp on content. The very best way to combat not ranking on mobile is to go with a responsive design. Responsive web design is the practice of mixing flexible grids and layouts, images, and CSS media queries to ensure that no matter what device a searcher is using, your website alters to suit the device’s environment; whether it be desktop, mobile, or tablet.
  2. Your website should never skimp on content. Part of Google’s algorithm is freshness, meaning that you are consistently adding fresh content to your site, showing that your brand is relevant and reputable. In order to make sure that your brand content ranks in Google’s mobile-first index, your mobile site should have plenty of content. With a responsive design built-in, anything that you add to your desktop site should be visible on mobile – eliminating the worry altogether.
  3. Have the same content on your mobile site as you do on your desktop site. Make sure that all content on your desktop site is visible and responsive on your mobile site. The more that the content and links are the same, the less likely your rankings will be affected by the mobile-first index.
  4. Make sure that your mobile site speed is exceptional and not delayed. Eventually, Google will completely transition to the mobile-first index, which evaluates your mobile site first rather than your desktop site, which means that your mobile site needs to load fast.
  5. Structured data. After mobile site speed, Google’s mobile-first index will look at the structured data on your content pages. Top digital marketing companies in Fort Lauderdale stress the importance of structured data. Structured data is what search engine spiders crawl first. Make sure that your title tags, H1 (header tags), meta descriptions, and all other structured data is working on your mobile site, just as it would for desktop.


If your website is already in a good position, Tandem Interactive does not expect that you will see any changes in your rankings on Google. If your website is not mobile-friendly, has missing title tags, header tags, and meta tags, contact us today for a further evaluation of your website and get it primed for the mobile-first index.