Mobile-first Index: What Agents Should Know to Capitalize on

Mobile-first Index for real estate

Our post today is here to remind you once again how important it is to optimize your real estate website for mobile. In light of the upcoming changes in Google’s ranking algorithms, the mobile-first index is soon to reshape SEO rankings. But you still have time to get yourself ready, if you haven’t yet. Read on to learn more. 

In November 2016, Google launched its mobile-first index experiment to start prioritizing mobile-friendly websites in the SERPs. While there were talks that these tests would lead to a fully operational mobile-first index algorithm sometime in the middle of 2017, Google confirmed this is not likely to happen even at the end of 2017.

This leaves you plenty of time to make the necessary tweaks to your site (if needed) and meet the new changes head-on. If your real estate website is responsive and already shows up fine across all devices, you don’t bother with the mobile-first index although checking things over is always a good idea.

Either way, here’s a quick recap of what will change once the new algorithm is put in place.

What is the mobile-first index?

Everyone knows that mobile is becoming the preferred device to use instead of desktop. But have you thought how search engines actually reflect on this in their search results pages?

Right now, they analyze the desktop version of your site, rank it and then use that information to rank the mobile version of your site. But that’s about to change to the opposite once the mobile-first index is fully operational. So the mobile version of your site will have a higher priority and the desktop version will be ranked based on your mobile rankings.

[Related post: How Proximity Is Changing Local Real Estate SEO and Why It’s Important]

How can you relate?

Check your content

The first thing you’ll want to do is to check how your content looks on mobile and whether it’s fully accessible. Additionally, remember that page-wide mobile popups can get you penalized so make sure to optimize them too.

Also, remember what kind of local info people are usually after and make it easily seen on your site. Here are some insights that provide more clues:


*Stats taken from Understanding Consumers’ Local Search Behaviour survey by Google

Check your page speed

Page speed is already an important ranking factor. Once the new update rolls out, it’s going to be even more so. Use PageSpeed Insights to flag and fix any issues.

Remember to optimize your visual content before adding it to your site. For example, compressing images significantly reduces their size and the page loads faster. More on this here: Real Estate Image Optimization 101: Lightning Fast Site & Stronger SEO.

Check your internal linking for mobile

Oftentimes, internal links are displayed differently on mobile than they’re on the desktop. Ideally, they should be the same or very similar. For one thing, users who are already familiar with the desktop version of your site will struggle to find the necessary content on mobile. The same goes for search engines which can rank your mobile site lower if the internal linking architecture is drastically different from the desktop version.

What’s next?

The mobile-first index is a global change and every industry is affected, with real estate being no exception. If you feel there are things with your mobile website that can be improved, you have another few months to go ahead and do it (check your Search Console account for any notifications and tips). Additionally, read more on the mobile-first index FAQs.