In a Google algorithm update, the search company will be changing the algorithm so that it indexes mobile-friendly sites first. This means that when you build a new site, it should be responsive and the responsive templates should have mobile first index SEO incorporated in it. When people use their phones to search, they may search differently than how they would search on a desktop or laptop. This might include the words “near me” and other location identifiers in search strings.
Instead of having the desktop as the starting point for Google's index, the mobile site will be the starting point. The mobile site also becomes the baseline for rank determination. Smartphone Googlebot is the spider that does the crawling. When you pull up cached versions of your page, they will most likely be the mobile version.
If a website doesn't have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop site will still be included in the index, but it would most likely fall further down in the search results. If a site has a better mobile experience, it could help raise the site in the search rankings. If your current site is already optimized for mobile or your site is responsive, it may not change the way your site is ranked.
If you're happy with your current rankings and your site is responsive, you might not have to change anything. However, if your site isn't mobile-friendly at all, you may want to start making changes. Part of those changes should be making sure the speed your site loads is prioritized. Dynamic elements, including images, should be optimized for mobile phones.
Any content that you have that is hidden in tabs or collapsed because of space limitations will be treated the same as visible content. Since this is a mobile-first indexing best practice, this helps your site.
If you have a mobile site that is separate from your desktop site, make sure the highest quality on your desktop site is what is on the mobile site. Make sure the structured data markup is the same on both sites. If you show URLs in the structured data, make sure they are the mobile URLs. All metadata should be equivalent. Several additional changes might be needed in the REL tags, social metadata, XML and other portions of the programming for your site.
It's better to go responsive, because having two separate sites, while still acceptable, is becoming a thing of the past. Though there has been no indication of this happening, Google may eventually phase out duplicate sites in favor of one responsive site. Check to see if your site is mobile-friendly here.
If you are ready to create a new mobile-friendly site for your small business or you already have a site but need to upgrade it, visit Art's Cube for more information.