Preparing for Mobile-first Indexing on WordPress

In today’s world, search engines like Google and Yahoo maintain a massive index of millions of pages. This allows them to find and serve up content that is relevant to a search query. If you want your web pages to appear in search results, you need to ensure that they are included in the index. However, with the shift towards mobile-first indexing for WordPress, there are a few additional steps you need to take.

Mobile-first indexing is Google’s new approach to searching the web. Instead of relying on the desktop index, Google will now start to search the web from a mobile-first browser view. This means that the mobile version of your WordPress site will become the primary version for search engines. Google will first search the mobile version and only fall back to the desktop version if a mobile version is not available.

The shift towards mobile-first indexing is in response to the significant shift towards mobile searches. The current search method does not offer an ideal user experience for mobile users, as the desktop and mobile versions of many websites do not have matching content. This results in a bad user experience, something Google is working hard to avoid.

To prepare for mobile-first indexing for WordPress, there are a few easy steps you can follow:

1. Responsive Design: Ensure that your WordPress theme is responsive or that you have a dynamic serving site in place. This means that the server sends the same HTML code to all devices, and CSS is used to alter the rendering of the page on the device.

2. Review Your Content: Ensure that the primary content and markup are the same for both desktop and mobile versions. Use the Structured Data Test Tool to check whether content is the same on both versions.

3. Metadata: Ensure that metadata is present on both versions of the site. Use similar titles and meta descriptions on all pages across both versions of your WordPress.

4. Internal Links: If you’re using separate mobile URLs, retain the existing link rel=canonical, and then link rel=alternate elements between the two versions.

5. Languages: If your WordPress is multilingual, check hreflang links on separate mobile URLs. You’ll need to link between mobile and desktop URLs separately.

6. Hosting: If the mobile version of your WordPress website is on a separate host, make sure that the host servers can handle a possible increase in crawl rate.

7. Verification: Submit your mobile version of your WordPress to Google search console for verification.

8. Focus on SEO: Continue with top-notch content and SEO practices.

9. Mobile Friendliness: Ensure that your WordPress is mobile-friendly. Google considers a website mobile-friendly when a mobile user can load all parts of content on your page, read the text without requiring to zoom or pinch, and can tap any button easily.

The shift towards mobile-first indexing for WordPress marks a major change for website owners and SEO professionals. However, there is no immediate need for concern, especially with these tips to prepare for mobile-first indexing for WordPress. The shift is expected to be gradual, allowing time for websites to adapt to the new approach. While there’s no timeline in place to complete the process, it’s a wake-up call for all websites to initiate processes to rank high on the mobile-first index.

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