It’s Live Now → Mobile-First Indexing

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It’s Live Now → Mobile-First Indexing

What is Mobile-first indexing?

According to the Google Webmaster Central Blog, mobile-first indexing means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.

Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majority of users now access Google via a mobile device, the index will primarily use the mobile version of a page’s content from now onwards.

Google has stated that it is not going to create a separate mobile-first index, but will continue to use only one index.

With mobile-first indexing, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent. Do keep in mind that Google will continue to show the URL that is the most appropriate to users (whether it’s a desktop or mobile URL) in its search results.

 

How do I check this update?

Currently, Google will notify websites that are migrating to mobile-first indexing via Google Search Console.

Mobile-first indexing from Google Search Console

Couldn’t find that update from the notification? Don’t worry, because your website will still be indexed by Google.

 

Best practices for mobile-first indexing

If you have this style of site
Type of website structure Changing Version for indexing
Desktop only
Your site is only desktop-compatible and doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version.
No The mobile version is the same as the desktop version.
Responsive web design

Your site adjusts for screen size.

No The mobile version is the same as the desktop version.
Canonical AMP

All your web pages are created in AMP HTML.

No The mobile version is the same as the desktop version.
Separate URLs

Each desktop URL has an equivalent different URL that serves mobile-optimized content. This site type is also known as an m-dot site.

Yes Google prefers the mobile URL for indexing.
Dynamic serving

Your site serves different content based on the user’s device. Users only see one URL.

Yes Google prefers the mobile optimized content for indexing.
AMP and non-AMP

Your site has both AMP and non-AMP versions of a page. Users see two different URLs.

Yes Google prefers the mobile version of the non-AMP URL for indexing.

 

Best practices for dynamic serving and separate URLs
Your mobile site should contain the same content as your desktop site Structured data should be present on both versions of your site. Metadata should be present on both versions of the site.

 

Additional best practices of separate URLs
Verify both versions of your site in the Search Console Check hreflang links on separate URLs. Ensure that your servers have sufficient capacity
Verify your robots.txt directives Make sure you have the correct rel=canonical and rel=alternate link elements

 

*We highly recommend you to check out the full guide here: https://developers.google.com/search/mobile-sites/mobile-first-indexing

 

Still using non mobile-friendly website?

It’s time to upgrade your website! A website that is mobile-friendly gets a boost in its indexing and ranking. This will also provide better user experience to mobile users.

While using mobile-first indexing has no ranking advantage, Google does evaluate all content in its index, whether it is desktop or mobile version, before determining your overall search engine ranking.

Feel free to check if your website is mobile-friendly or not here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

mobile-friendly test

 

Summary

The traffic from smartphone devices is increasing every day. Designing your website to be mobile-friendly not only ensures that your content stays consistent throughout all devices, but also gets Google to ‘love’ your website more.

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