Google’s web crawling software is now prioritizing the mobile version of websites for inclusion in its index. Find out what that means for attorneys in this post. [3-minute read]

Based on messages some of our members are beginning to receive in their Google Search Consoles, Google’s transition to a mobile-first indexing system is now in full swing.

an example of google search console message about mobile-first indexing

Here’s what that means:

When indexing a site for return in organic search results, Google’s web crawling software used to look at the desktop version of a site first. As of March 2018, Google now indexes and returns results with a preference for content found on the mobile version of sites.

The search engine still has only one index, but that index now favors the mobile version of sites across the web. This shift was announced in late 2016, and it has been a long time coming since Google’s search traffic from mobile devices surpassed that of desktops and laptops in the summer of 2015.

If a site does not have a mobile version, Google will still index the desktop version of the site. Sites that prioritize mobile-friendliness, however, will likely see better organic rankings moving forward than those that do not.

For LawLytics Members, this is just one more in a long line of Google updates that you don’t need to lose sleep over. All LawLytics sites are built using responsive website design which means that sites belonging to our members are automatically optimized for display on mobile devices, as well as on desktops and laptops.

For attorneys who operate desktop-only sites, however, or for those who operate two different versions of their sites for display on mobile and desktop versions, Google’s policy of mobile-first indexing may affect your site’s organic rankings.

For those still operating two separate versions of their sites, it’s probably a good time to perform an audit in order to make sure that your mobile site is up to snuff with respect to Google’s best practices for mobile indexing. If your site is built using responsive design, like those built by LawLytics, keep calm and carry on.

If you are working with a third-party developer and you’re not sure about the mobile-friendliness of your law firm website, it’s a good idea to start asking that developer some questions about your site’s performance on mobile searches.

If they are unable to give you satisfactory answers to those questions, or they attempt to simply dismiss the importance of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal for your law firm website, set up a time to talk with one of our experts about migrating your site over to LawLytics.