2016 is almost over and with it we had a few changes to the way we perceive SEO and SEM as a whole.
The Google Contributor is dying off as Google decides that it is imperative to continue running ads for revenue (either via Adwords or via Adsense, depends on being the advertiser or the publisher) and most websites opting for native ads or a monthly subscription to discontinue showing ads to users.
Desktop’s last stand
In the last two years or so, more and more users have opted for mobile for their searches, over 50% according to most sources.
But, even though most searches are conducted on mobile, people still use desktop and laptops to read loads of information.
There is so much mobile can provide when you need to scroll more than four times as much to read the same article you can read on desktop.
Google, has decided to make mobile the game changer by finally slowly rolling out its “mobile first index”.
The mobile first agenda is quite simple: a site that isn’t mobile friendly would rank lower than a site that is mobile friendly.
By mobile friendly it could be either mobile responsive (same website that is optimized for both desktop as well as mobile devices such as mobile phones or tablets) or based on the Accelerated Mobile Pages initiative conducted by Google.
As a webmaster who wishes to continue conducting good SEO, all you have to do is to make sure your website is adaptable to changes in devices.
You don’t have to have your website built in AMP in order for it to rank high on search results on mobile unless you are mostly conveying content to users (for example as a blogger), then AMP just shows up faster to the user.
The trouble isn’t that users opt for mobile, the trouble is that search engines must now adapt for it.
It means that desktop SEO would come second to mobile SEO.
Should we start trembling?
The rolling out period would still offer us two indices: a mobile one and a desktop one with Google pushing for only one index – the mobile one.
This is mostly an ominous prophecy based on speculations, but current initiatives by Google (which might create new metrics soon to follow by Bing, Baidu and naturally Yandex and Naver) and the way it chooses to put mobile on a pedestal, mean that we as marketers should adapt as soon as possible.
What should we do though?
Well, we can go to our search console and fetch data presented via a mobile agent to see how our website is crawled by Google; by doing so, we can decide what our course of action should be in terms of SEO – should we opt for mobile friendliness in the first place or are most of our visits and revenue come from desktop users?
In the long run and understanding simple statistics, more users = more possible revenue but if the mobile experience is not as appealing as the desktop one, then mobile friendliness is relevant, but is not our main concern.