2020 was characterised by many announcements from the American company, announcements that have introduced important news and that will change the way in which SEO experts, web agencies, professionals (and not only) are accustomed to work in order to optimise the online presence on one of the most used search engines in the world.
At the end of the year, in fact, it was confirmed that, starting from spring 2021, the desktop versions of websites will no longer appear among the search results. According to the experts, such an announcement was expected since some time: the signals, for those who were able to observe well, were clear.
Let’s find out together everything there is to know about Google’s new rules and what will change not only for website developers and SEO specialists, but also for all those who don’t have an optimised website.
The importance of mobile sites according to Google
Since the beginning of 2020, Google introduced an important novelty within its tools. News that, in hindsight, was a clear signal of the direction that the company wanted to take.
On Search Console (the former webmaster tool) an entire section dedicated to mobile devices called “mobileusability” was introduced. In this section it is possible to check if the pages of the website respect the UX rules that are essential to make the site navigable from smartphones and tablets. Any errors must be corrected, since they can have a negative impact on the positioning of the website. This may happen because one of the ranking factors is precisely based on the user experience.
These news are not surprising if you take into account the fact that about 85% of online searches take place via mobile phone and not by desktop computer.
What is going to change from spring 2021?
Before analysing what Google’s decision will actually entail, we should ask ourselves the following question: why is such an important step necessary?
Although we cannot have certain answers (Google is not accustomed to provide detailed explanations), some theories can be advanced.
In fact, on the one hand there are those who claim that this change represents an “incentive” for all those who still don’t have a mobile version of their website (usually many institutional sites fall into this category), while on the other hand there are those who say that in doing so Google will confirm that it wants to look more at the needs of users rather than at those of professionals.
Now we can answer the question: from March 2021 all the desktop version websites will be deleted from the SERP. Not only web pages will be removed, but also all the images and the resources that are linked to them.
What to do to don’t be penalised?
Now let’s ask ourselves: what can we do to rest easy and enter March 2021 without risking to lose the positioning of the website within the search engine? Here are some tips that can help to adapt the websites to Google’s new rules:
check the robot.txt file: in particular, you need to verify that the instructions that allow Google bots to scan the mobile version of the sites are enabled
check the adherence to rules: essentially you will no longer need to give different rules for the desktop and mobile version of a site. On the contrary, it will be necessary to verify that the rules are identical in order not to cause confusion to the bot
verify the website versions: the website contents must match, meta information included, both in mobile and in desktop versions, so that the Google bot can collect all the relevant information to be entered on search results pages. In this sense, a mismatch between the two versions could result in a loss of traffic
Following these measures is essential, just as it is essential to rely on experts in the field, such as SEO specialists or a web agency, who are able to keep up with news and updates.
Although it is unlikely to be caught unprepared for this novelty, safety is never too much.
If you want to find out the best practices on how to optimise a website, you may also be interested in this other article.
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