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Might want to think about backlinks & Google mobile first index

     
12:08 pm on Apr 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google is making a big push to change from desktop first to mobile first indexing. Thankfully this change is very unlikely to happen in 2017 so you have time to prepare. Why do you need to prepare? Because when Google moves to mobile first you could potentially lose a bunch of content and backlinks. Often the sidebar links/footer links are removed from mobile versions. I can easily imagine some sites losing 10% to 20% of their backlinks. Imagine if you lost 20% of your backlinks and how that would impact your rankings.

Might be a good time for all paid link tools to add a mobile friendly column to their link report

If you aren't familiar with mobile first indexing here are a few links to help you catch up
[webmasterworld.com...]
[searchengineland.com...]
[seroundtable.com...]
12:45 pm on Apr 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The thing is, it is not just the sites that link to you, it is also the sites that link to THEM.

I can imagine there are going to be some major earthquakes in some niches. Some site ecosystems that are not mobile-friendly will see a drop, RWD ecosystems will likely see a net rise (as inline links are mostly retained), while bespoke mobile ecosystems, which tend to exclude links, will be very chaotic.

Besides the primary, secondary and even tertiary link-disruption effects, I am of the opinion that Google will need to have rolled out a substantially revised algorithm that produces equivalent results, but relies less on links. Equivalent in the context means "no worse according to quality reviewers' scores for a given SERP" - emphatically NOT meaning "substantive carry-over of actual sites". I believe this, as mobile sites on the whole link out less, so reducing the viability of links as a primary ranking factor.

Combining both the waves of link-graph disruption with a whole new algo paradigm will almost certainly be one of the biggest disruptions to ever hit the SEO world. It might even have measurable economic impact (probably not).

I see wholesale destruction of small sites with low brand recognition as almost unavoidable. Citations are going to be critical to survival. Long-term traffic retention (repeat business) will be a core strategy of successful sites, as acquisition costs go up. Brands and big web shops will be inevitable winners as links disappear.

There will be collateral damage in spades, but it will just be that- incidental destruction of small business as Google shifts its search paradigm.

And I have not even considered the long-term effects on the web ecosystem as developers focus on Mobile.

[edited by: Shaddows at 12:48 pm (utc) on Apr 20, 2017]

12:48 pm on Apr 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Great perception goodroi.

I think though, all those cookie-cutter sites whith the long list of links in the sidebar are the types I disallow... the sites that jack-up my backlinks with several thousand low quality pages.

But the concept is a valid one. Things are going to change in a big way when the index switches weight to mobile. Of course it will change for everyone at the same time. However those that have done the prep work will come out ahead.
3:07 pm on Apr 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I suspect that one reason for the delay in the "mobile first index" is to let Google get all of its ducks in a row. Google's engineers must be aware of these issues, too!
4:27 pm on Apr 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Because when Google moves to mobile first you could potentially lose a bunch of content and backlinks. Often the sidebar links/footer links are removed from mobile versions. I can easily imagine some sites losing 10% to 20% of their backlinks. Imagine if you lost 20% of your backlinks and how that would impact your rankings.

Well I don't understand why google's algorithm can't continue to count backlinks from the other domain anyway, since the original intent was to link to your page. The algorithm would just have to gather all the backlinks from both the desktop and mobile versions of the other site and count all of them.
5:24 pm on Apr 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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My guess is that the move to a mobile based SERPS will be done on a piecemeal basis over a long period of time. There will be no big bang.

My sites are mobile friendly and I have no intention of second guessing how G will implement the various phases of a mobile based SERPS. It will become apparent over the following years after they implement it bit by bit.

Don't chase ghosts, keep focused on what you know, not what is pure speculation.
 

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