What does Google’s Mobile-first Index mean for E-commerce Businesses?


If you’re not using your smartphone to shop online, or at least browse, then you’re part of the minority. According to data from Google, four out of five smartphone owners used their phone to shop in 2015.

Google has something called an experimental index – which is all the information pulled together from highly popular and visited sources on the web to return the most useful search results to you. Google has always pulled this information together based on searches made on a desktop browser, but since smartphone shopping has become so popular, they are now experimenting with a mobile-first index – in other words, pulling together the most popular searches made on mobile.

Google says the reason for the change is that most searchers are using mobile, as opposed to desktop, so this is the best representation of websites that are viewed and therefore should determine how all content should be ranked.  

Should this experiment go further, those e-commerce sites who prioritize their desktop site over their mobile site will be most negatively affected since their performance will be tied to the strength of their mobile site.

If the data indicates a more positive searcher experience, it is more likely that Google will change the way it determines rankings. But, if the data indicates a negative searcher experience, it is likely that Google will continue to use a desktop-first index.

However, even if Google deems this experiment unsuccessful, there will be other new experiments that favor mobile sites, because searchers are mobile enthusiasts.

For this reason, it’s important that e-commerce businesses adapt their sites to accommodate mobile shoppers. E-commerce sites with responsive design won’t need to change their strategies since the desktop site is the mobile site and vice versa.

For more information on how you can make your e-commerce site mobile responsive, contact us and request a quote

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    Google’s Mobile-first Index and E-commerce