Google’s mobile-first indexing was initially introduced in November of 2016. The primary driver for this initiative was the growing use of mobile phones for online searches. The search engine giant thought that it was important to ensure a better user experience for the increasing number of mobile users. Thus, the creation of mobile-first indexing.
What is mobile-first indexing? It is a shift in how Google indexes the web. It is now going to prioritise mobile versions of pages over desktop versions. Simply put, mobile-first indexing means that Google crawls and indexes the web based on how it renders on a mobile device instead of a desktop.
When it was first introduced, this initiative caused panic and confusion amongst website owners and SEO specialists. Why? Many believed this was going to have a huge effect on SEO and rankings.
However, the search engine giant gave an assurance that this initiative is a change in indexing algorithms not ranking algorithms for mobile or desktop searches. Indexed pages are still going to be ranked using the same ranking signals.
Hence, those concerned about their ranking should just continue using SEO best practices if they want to place high on mobile and desktop search results.
Google slowly started rolling out mobile-first indexing to several sites in 2018. Those which observe the best practices for mobile-first indexing (like sites with responsive design or dynamic service) were migrated. Also last year, the search engine giant said that it intends to crawl and index the mobile versions of more sites by July.
Last December, months after it implemented mobile-first indexing, the tech company gave an update. According to them, mobile versions of website comprise over 50% of what is shown online.
Fast forward to 2019…
Just this May, the search engine giant made another big announcement. From July 1, 2019 onwards, all new websites will be indexed using mobile-first indexing by default. Here, new websites pertain to domains which Google has not detected or crawled yet.
So, if you have a newly registered site, its mobile-friendly content is going to be crawled and indexed using Googlebot, Google’s smartphone. These indexed pages become the basis for your website ranking.
What about the old websites? Existing domains that have not been migrated to mobile-first indexing won’t be affected by this change yet. They are still going to be indexed using desktop-first indexing.
However, webmasters of these sites can expect Google to regularly monitor and assess their site’s readiness for mobile-first indexing. Once ready, they are going to receive a notification via Search Control informing them about the indexing of the mobile versions of their website.
Meanwhile, old domains which have migrated to mobile-first indexing need not worry about anything. Also, just like new website, they won’t be notified about their mobile pages being indexed.
What’s the implication of this latest announcement on mobile-first indexing?
Well, the message is clear – if you intend to launch a website, make sure that it meets the requirements for mobile-first indexing. This means having a responsive, mobile-friendly design. You should also ensure that its speed is at par with the standards. Also, Google recommends using the same URL for the desktop and mobile versions of your site.
In addition, please make sure that your mobile and desktop sites have exactly the same content. This includes all the text, images and videos on your site. In addition, structured data and metadata must be present in both mobile and desktop versions of your website.
All the aforementioned things also apply to old websites which do not still meet the requirements for mobile-first indexing.
If you’re uncertain about the technical adjustments you need to make for your site to be ready for mobile-first indexing, it’s best to get the help of SEO specialists and web designers to ensure that you are on the right track.
Want to have a website that is ready for mobile-first indexing? Call us now at 019609023!
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay