SEO Alert! What The New Google Mobile-First Index Means For E-Commerce

Shopping is a core behavior of mobile users. Wondering what the new Google Mobile-first Index means for e-commerce? From recent reports four in five smartphone owners used their phones to shop in between other activities. With statistics revealing how a large percentage of online shoppers are mobile users, Google has introduced the mobile-first index to make the mobile e-commerce experience even more critical to natural search performance.

With this new revelation by Google Inc, it is therefore incumbent upon e-commerce businesses to change their digital experiences to accommodate mobile shoppers, which will also benefit their natural search performance to drive more shoppers with higher probability of making purchases.

Here’s What The New Google Mobile-First Index Means For E-Commerce & How It Will Affect Your SEO Efforts

If you have noticed slight changes in your rankings, it is probably been affected as Google has already started rolling out these changes!

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Prior to now, Google crawled websites as a desktop user hence the Googlebot desktop user-agent. What the new mobile-first index means is that Google is traversing e-commerce websites as a smart-phone user instead of a user with laptop or desktop computer and here are some of the things you need to know how it will affect your SEO efforts:

  • Some mobile versions of websites eliminate whole sections on certain pages e.g sidebars might not display on smartphones in portrait mode and when the sidebar is gone, so are the links. This implies that Googlebot wont crawl those links because they aren’t there!
  • Is your site responsive? The beauty of responsive design is that the desktop site is the mobile site and vice versa therefore e-commerce sites using responsive design will appear optimally for mobile searchers and Google’s mobile bot and might not need to change their search engine optimization strategies.
  • For e-commerce businesses with a seperate mobile site, it is quite more complicated as dedicated mobile sites hosted on seperate sub-domains e.g will need to be optimized using different methods.
  • If your mobile site is on a different sub-domain, you’ll need to verify it separately on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Are there accordions, tabs or other hidden contents on the mobile-friendly version? The good news is that these hidden contents will get indexed! Although the hidden content isn’t visible to a “real” user, the Googlebot will find it as it traverses around your site.
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Here are some implications:

Much as we wonder what the new Google mobile-first index means for e-commerce, It is important to note that Google has not stopped crawling with the desktop user-agent. This implies that there will be two indexes – The mobile index and the desktop index. Some Googlers will see results from the mobile index while others will see results from the desktop index. But that’s only a temporary situation. Eventually, Google will eliminate the desktop index and everyone will see results from the mobile index.

As brilliant as this might sound – This is not the future of SEO. Artificial Intelligence is really what people are optimizing for right now so much as we are curious/impressed with what the new Google mobile-first index means for e-commerce, it is also important to keep up with how to optimize for artificial intelligence.

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