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I subscribe to this guy's email list. According to him, Google will begin using the mobile version of a page for search engine results, even if the search is performed on a desktop.

https://backlinko.com/mobile-seo-guide

This could bring a lot of business my way, in terms of making sites mobile friendly. But I'm not a fan of Google dictating to the world how to create their websites. If this is true, then sites that are not mobile-friendly will disappear from search engine results pages.

I use Bing myself, but obviously most people still use Google.

Edited by VWeb

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I've had a read and I'm not convinced as no citation to Googles "Mobile-First Index"; the only citation was to the mobile friendly update which only confirms why they separate their search results. Google uses mobile and desktop for a few reasons, a considerable one being hidden content on mobile versions - that said in more recent times they can utilise js to expand and collapse if correctly marked up.

Essentially responsive with no difference in content between mobile and desktop is the way to go (ignoring retina and other quirks for front end but that's device capabilities specific). I figure Google will always rank your desktop version for desktop and vice versa; it's tangible you could rank #1 for mobile and tank desktop serps.

Edited by BrowserBugs

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All Google is saying is it will use the mobile version of your site as the primary indexing source. If your website is responsive this will make no difference. It's only going to be a problem if you deliver different content to those using a phone to those those using a tablet or desktop.

Google is doing this is because more people use mobile devices to browse the internet than a desktop. So it makes sense for the SERPS to display sites that offer the best UX for those devices.

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That's not what the guy on the backlinko site claims, but I guess time will tell.

According to him, Google will derive search results only from mobile-friendly sites (which would include responsive sites of course). My concern was that sites that aren't responsive and don't have a mobile version, will totally drop out of the results.

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The rest of the article is generally a good combination of best practises; something Google has been actively promoting with their free tools, all of which get a mention, the article isn't wrong. The one sticking point is maybe just the phrase "Mobile-First Index", smacks of a new buzzword for what's actually already going on.

His point about responsive sites have nothing to worry about is correct if the content remains the same. My point about ensuring the markup is tight is for things like open and closed menu; if a collapsed menu is incorrect then the search engines will assume it's not actually there, same for read more expansions, all the content is non existent to mobile and so cannot be accounted for when ranking the mobile version, which was why they ran separate desktop and mobile results, makes sense.

So if for theories sake all websites are responsive and all correctly marked up with content identical on both versions then we could just as easily say "Desktop First Index"? To me it's sort of chicken and egg.

Edited by BrowserBugs

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3 hours ago, VWeb said:

My concern was that sites that aren't responsive and don't have a mobile version, will totally drop out of the results.

You should not have a mobile version of  site. This is totally against what Google whats. You need a responsive site and you need to ensure the content delivered to a small screen is the same as that delivered to a desktop. The layout may change and you can do clever things with menus but the words and the images should be the same no matter what device is being used. Google has been telling webmasters this for a long time.

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8 hours ago, fisicx said:

You should not have a mobile version of  site.

I agree. But it is visible on mobile. I was just basing that on what he claims in the article.

I design all my sites responsively. I do still see many sites that look like they were made in 1990 though. But perhaps that will mean an increase in business for all of us. :)

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The web is all about being inclusive so anybody can visit a website - so those that neglect accessibility whether it's from screen-readers and navigation via the keyboard or are not mobile friendly, colours that meet accessibility guidelines etc.  Any that don't should (righty) be penalised.

In the UK we are legally obliged to make our sites accessible - although it's difficult to enforce.

I should add that having a responsive site is not the end of the story, Google is smart and text has to be legible, buttons touch friendly - a 10px high text link is not suffice for example.

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On 23/03/2018 at 8:57 AM, fisicx said:

and you need to ensure the content delivered to a small screen is the same as that delivered to a desktop. The layout may change and you can do clever things with menus but the words and the images should be the same no matter what device is being used.

This isn't strictly true.  It's common for example to reduce, more complex SVG icons down to more simple ones on smaller screens.  Example: https://tympanus.net/codrops/2014/08/19/making-svgs-responsive-with-css/

Ultimately you want the user to have a great experience on any device and be able to complete whatever tasks they want to do.
Usually this means the same content but to say it should always remain the same is a little dogmatic there are many cases where you don't want to do this.  We are generalising and not taking context into account - Every project is different and there are very few universal rules to web design and development 

Edited by rbrtsmith

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I agree.

by co tent I’m really talking about the words on the page. Google expects you to deliver the same article to everyone no matter what device is being used. You may use smaller images or link to a video rather than embed but what you read shouldn’t change.

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Overall, I'm just not a Google fan, however that's a topic for another thread, I guess.

I wish there was a valid alternative in terms of search engines. I don't like the monopoly they've become, with the power to dictate what websites appear in searches - based perhaps on political views and whether they comply with Google's social agenda.

I use Bing mostly for my own searches, but for client SEO, analytics, etc. I'm forced to work with Google.

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Bing's policy on content is pretty much the same as google.

The words you see on a phone should be the same on a tablet or desktop. The simplest way to do this is to build a responsive website. Having a 'mobile' site makes no sense.

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I agree. I never said anyone should create a mobile site. 

I just don't believe Google should dictate to everyone on the internet what is acceptable and not acceptable. Who made them God?

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Google doesn't dictate anything. They have an algorithm that determines what is indexed and ranked based on a number of criteria. They have been updating and adjusting this algorithm for years (check the huge number of patents they hold) to provide better results. One of the recent changes is to ensure those using smaller screens get to see results which lead to websites which are mobile friendly. It's not a dictate, it is continual development.

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On 3/23/2018 at 4:58 PM, BlueDreamer said:

All I can say is be very wary of anyone touting "SEO", or "marketing", that world is so full of BS!

That buddy needs a crisp high-five!

Totally agree, the acronym "SEO" has been abused for so long - very few "experts" I trust, sure SEO is legitimate but not a bolt on service, it's about code level and content planning :)

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8 hours ago, fisicx said:

Google doesn't dictate anything.

I don't know how it works in the UK, but here we supposedly have laws against monopolies. Google and Facebook, both of which most likely received, and/or still are receiving, behind the scenes money from our government, are de facto monopolies. And, they are strongly slanting results toward a particular political or social agenda. That's a political/governmental question rather than a technical one.

Personally, I'd rather have the most accurate results for a search (content-wise), rather than less accurate content that is best optimized for a particular device. 

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1 hour ago, VWeb said:

And, they are strongly slanting results toward a particular political or social agenda.

And your evidence for this is what?

The results I see on Google pretty much match what I see on Bing.

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Oh, my. Not even close when you search for something from a conservative point of view. :o

And Youtube, owned by Google, has been steadily purging conservative accounts.

Edited by VWeb

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That might be the way things are in the USA but here in the UK it's all good.

Can you give an example of where Google and Bing have a major difference in the SERPs

Edited by fisicx
Added a question

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That's not what I'd call a conservative topic. However, I've just searched Google and Bing and got pretty much the same sort of results on both with the top result being the same.

Edited by fisicx

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This has gotten pretty much off topic. Not sure how closely moderators here curb that kind of thing, since I'm new to the forum.

But, yes, "pro life" is about as conservative a topic as you can get. Google positions the terminology "anti-abortion" quite prominently on the results page. That is using very negative terminology. They don't call the pro choice view, "anti-life" after all. They include an article about why pro lifers haven't seen the light like other progressive movements.

Neither National Right to Life nor Life News, two prominent pro life organizations make the first page of Google, but they do in Bing.

I don't want to argue about this. It's a bit off from my initial post on mobile seo. It could be that you're seeing different results in the UK than I'm seeing here in the U.S., but it's a well-known fact that Google, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter all lean to the left politically and socially. And, that is reflected in the content they permit and promote.

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Maybe that's true in the US but not in the UK.

And maybe you consider pro-life to be conservative, I'd put it more at the radical end of the political spectrum. Pro-choice is conservative.

Edited by fisicx

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10 hours ago, VWeb said:

This has gotten pretty much off topic. Not sure how closely moderators here curb that kind of thing, since I'm new to the forum.

Hahaha yeah think they step in at "Flat Earth" ;)

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52 minutes ago, BrowserBugs said:

Hahaha yeah think they step in at "Flat Earth" ;)

Is there any other kind? I heard someone talking about a sphere once but that's just daft. We would all fall off the bottom.

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Well, my first site just got the mobile-first message; so far still dominating desktop and mobile, can't see any real difference. Anyone else got a site on mobile-first yet?

mobile-first.png.d9e4769c9a5134be7f9b132850f56253.png

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I received a mobile-first message for one of my websites, I haven't noticed any difference yet.

@VWeb If you don't like what Google is all about, then don't use their services, its that simple! either go with the flow, or buck the trend...

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Search console, you get an email to say like any other email from Google.

Edit: but that's one out of over 50 sites I monitor.

Edited by BrowserBugs

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Ah. That explains it. I stopped using the google search console years ago which is probably why I'm not getting the email.

Traffic from mobile hasn't changed though. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing.

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Just looking at the email I had, it was from the Google Search Console Team. I don't know if you can force anything to submit your site and move up the list quicker.

From my understanding, website that have been optimised for mobile use will rank higher than a website that hasn't been optimised.

Edited by GrahamUK33

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1 hour ago, GrahamUK33 said:

Are what happens if you don't have a responsive design?

If you don't have a responsive design then your rank would in theory be judged on the mobile rendering of your desktop site, so for example things like "font size" would be knackered. To illustrate run a mobile test on a non responsive desktop site.

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