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Mobile – First Indexing of Ecommerce Sites

Mobile – First Indexing of Ecommerce Sites


Mobile-first indexing has been a popular topic over the past few months. We’ve seen a lot of articles on the subject, discussing how it may impact site appearance in search results. It’s important though not to confuse mobile-first indexing with ranking – remember the basics of indexing and ranking when it comes to this topic.

  • Indexing vs. Ranking

Search engines perform two main tasks – indexing and ranking. The mobile-first index means that mobile pages will be crawled first, and Google will revert to desktop pages if no mobile page is available.

The factors Google use to determine search rankings include mobile usability (mobile friendliness). Mobile-friendly content will be ranked higher in search results when a user is searching on a mobile device – this has been a factor that’s been around since 2015.

Keyword rankings differ based on whether the searcher is using mobile or desktop. This is due to Google ranking factors and roadblocks that exist in their mobile results, such as mobile page speed as a ranking factor and the intrusive interstitial penalty


  • How Can Ecommerce Companies Adapt?

The obvious: Make sure your site is mobile optimized

The first step you need to take, if you haven’t already, is to switch to a responsive website as soon as possible. There are other options for optimizing your site for mobile, including having a separate mobile site, but responsive design is generally recognized as being the easiest to maintain.

To check whether your site is currently mobile friendly, check out Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.

Mobile Friendly test

Start thinking mobile-first With their move to a mobile-first index, Google is effectively stating that mobile is leading the way in search. If they haven’t already done so, brands need to follow suit.

Thinking mobile-first doesn’t mean mobile-only. As we discussed in the previous chapter, desktop still has a key role to play in search and the overall conversion funnel for many industries.

A mobile-first strategy will take into account the types of searches typically undertaken on mobile, and will develop content best suited for those searches.

Google’s micro-moments explain the typical search intent behind different types of query, and show how this might affect the search results returned in each case.

Google’s micro-moments

As an example of how ecommerce companies can implement strategies to target mobile users, a search for ‘contact Shopper Stop’ on mobile should return options to contact the company quickly and easily.

Through the use of click to call markup, ecommerce sites can provide search engines with the data they need to offer this feature in their results:


  • Report on Performance Between Mobile and Desktop

Reporting on desktop vs. mobile performance is easily and clearly accomplished in Google Analytics.

Measuring rankings and organic channel performance for mobile separate to desktop can give you a better picture of how things are working across both channels. As search usage continues to shift toward mobile, this will become increasingly important.

The vast majority of ecommerce sites need to adapt and work to improve the current situation of how their sites perform for mobile users. When designing a mobile-friendly site, certain mistakes keep popping up, even among top e-commerce sites.

We searched for the most common mistakes made on mobile websites, and found that the vast majority of sites were plagued by significant problems.


  • The five biggest errors we found were:
  • 4xx error codes, which impact a user’s ability to utilize or access the site correctly.
  • Slow page loading speed, which will drive users away and negatively impact SEO.
  • Issues with mixed content, which will negatively affect user experience and reduce confidence in your website.
  • Missing or empty title tags, preventing Google from identifying the content correctly.
  • Redirect chains and loops, which prevent users from getting to the correct destination quickly
Improving SEO by Detecting and Correcting Duplicate Content Pages

Improving SEO by Detecting and Correcting Duplicate Content Pages


The main concern that any web retailer ever faces is the fear of Duplicate Content. For raising organic traffic to any website, Duplicate content is one of the biggest enemies since Google rankings are based purely on Original Content created. Many sites copy content from other sites that is no good for their online business growth as they can penalized and also taken off the rankings for indefinite period. If you are looking forward to remove duplicate content from your website than you should do quickly since it requires few technical changes. In a matter of few weeks, you can see your website is fairing better and has got improved rankings. Removing duplicate content is not just about removing penalties but helps for building the links. Links are a valuable resource for better SEO performance.

The given below is an example of Diluted Links because of Duplicate Content. The same content when searched by several URLs dilutes the online reputation. The image shows three different pages of the same product. When searched by users, search engines scans through each page checking the popularity of the pages and how often the users have visited it. They consider overall quality and quantity from third party sites as the kind of endorsements. Search engines use the links to prioritize how far they search, what is the ranking, what is indexation, how much they rank and how higher they rank.


Source: Google

The main page reputation is hampered because the other pages receive some reputation online because they are having the same content. They may even have same set of keywords that are searched. By consolidation of the duplicates, we increase links to main page and hence boost the reputation.

Now, the main question is HOW does one Detect Duplicate Content. This is a very simple step by which you will know whether your site reputation is hampered or not. To determine, type in Google – and you will see the list of sites listed having duplicate content.

To determine if your site has duplicate content, type in Google, and check how many pages are listed. Usually the products on your site make up the pages that are listed on search engines and if it shows bulk pages with given keywords it shows that it has duplicate content. XML sitemaps are comprehensive hence Google search console could be used to compare number of pages indexed in XML sitemaps as opposed to the number of total indexed pages in your Index status.


Blocking duplicate pages by making use of robots.txt, the duplicate pages are still able to accumulate links and it doesn’t hamper their page reputation. It’s basically an outdated technique that does not consolidate reputation of duplicate links in canonical pages.

RewriteEngine On – it will help enable Rewrite capacities

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on – the command helps to make sure the connection is not already HTTPS

RewriteRule ^/?(.*)$1 [R=301,L]


This is done to check the connection whether it is already HTTPS or not.


The rule is applied to address rare IP duplication where site is available through the IP address.

RewriteEngine On – helps to rewrite the capabilities

%{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f – This command makes sure that slashes are not added to the files. i.e., /index.html/ would be incorrect.


This rules helps to add missing trail slashes. The given below helps to remove them:


This is perhaps one of the most common duplicate file cases, it is the director index file. We have to remove the directories index.php and .NET systems to avoid the duplication.


In the above example, one can note that the product IDs are same for both the URLs. The canonical version and the other one is the duplicate. Because of this, one can use single rule to map all product pages. The product IDs are not same and new URLs don’t use same IDs, you will require one-to-one mappings. The available tools online helps to map and rewrite the products.

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