Ways to Prepare for Google's Mobile-First Index | Piranha Solutions

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Mobile-First Index Deadline – Is your site ready?

By piranha

25th September 2017

Google informed webmasters some time ago that fully responsive websites stand the best chance of performing well in search results. Although the transition to responsive is fairly straightforward, there are still plenty of sites out there using the outdated m-dot method.

Google’s new mobile-first index is expected in early 2018, making it more important than ever to ensure your website is up-to-date!

What is an M-Dot Web Page?

An m-dot web page is a version of a standard page, the configuration of which enables the optimal display for mobiles and tablets. You can tell if your web page is m-dot pages by looking at its URL; if it begins with an m-dot – e.g. m.example.com – it’s time to review your website’s design.

In previous years, applying m-dot pages was the accepted method of optimising your site for mobile users. However, search engines now stipulate that all pages should be fully responsive.

How does a Responsive Web Page Work?

A responsive web page is designed to always display correctly regardless of visitors using their mobile, tablet or desktop. The main difference from m-dot pages is that responsive pages always use the same URL.

The styling of all websites is achieved using a kind of code called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). This is where the site’s colour, size, and spacings come from. To make a web page responsive, you can utilise part of CSS called ‘Media Queries’. These tell the browser to display the site with different sizes and spacing in a specific way, depending on the screen size.

This makes the web page responsive!

Why Should I Make the Switch?

Here are just a few advantages of responsive web design:

  • Webmasters do not need to maintain multiple URLs for the same page content.
  • It is much easier for visitors to share your content.
  • Google’s indexing algorithms only need to assess a single page rather than waste time establishing its relationship to others.
  • Reduced load times, particularly for mobile device users.
  • It is very likely that fewer common URL or crawl errors will occur.

Responsive web pages are much more efficient and easy to maintain. If your site is still using mobile page versions, make the switch sooner rather than later!

How do I Get Responsive?

If your website is still using m-dot pages, there are several points to consider during the changeover:

  • Get your responsive site ready.
  • Place 301 permanent redirects on all m-dot pages, pointing to the responsive URL instead.
  • Remove any mobile-specific URL configurations such as conditional redirects or a vary HTTP header.
  • Use rel=canonical tags on the responsive pages pointing at themselves. These are known as self-referential canonicals and make it clear to Google which page it should index.

Mobile Web Design by Piranha

At Piranha, we specialise in the design, development and optimisation of modern websites. Each of our new sites is built to be responsive as standard.

Please contact us if your existing website still uses m-dot or any other outdated URL structure. Our experienced and friendly web developers would be more than happy to assist you. Call 01772 888331 or email us at becreative@piranha-solutions.com today.

We can make sure your site conforms to webmaster guidelines, ready for Google’s mobile-first index.

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