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SERP flux on Landing Pages on non-responsive sites

11:07 pm on Dec 21, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For my clients who are not on responsive website platforms, I've noticed noticed since around Dec 15 my historically highest ranking desktop pages for my clients keywords fluctuating a lot in the past 2 weeks. Obviously it looks like the Mobile First index surfacing in the SERPs. The most obvious effect is the interior landing pages becoming the preferred SERP over the homepage.

We hear often how we should just build a good site with natural language and Google can deduce the relevance of your whole site. We assumed that was why our homepages were out ranking landing pages dedicated to specific terms. Is this not a trend back to on-page factors weighing heavier? Or possibly Google has turned up the Page Authority ranking factor and turned down Domain Authority ranking factor? This would negatively effect sites without deep links and/or bad site structure.

Is the mobile index telling us that the mobile algorithm prefers the interior pages of these sites as opposed to the homepage?

If this is true then it could be inherent in the mobile algorithm to rank interior pages higher due to things such as: visible content, keywords in the urls, keyword relevance as a percentage of the page itself rather than taking the LSI of the whole site into account and serving the homepage, etc..

Could it be the mobile index is tweaked towards interior pages in preparation to advance the AMP initiative more?

I do see my clients who have very substandard mobile versions still ranking with their desktop versions in the mobile results. Is Google ignoring mobile versions under a certain threshold of quality and simply favoring the mobile versions better optimized therefore pushing my clients desktop version further down in the results? When I click the link the server still sends me to the mobile version. It's just not making it into the SERPs.

I maybe missing something obvious but I thought I would throw it out there.