After a year and a half of testing, Google has finally started migrating websites over to mobile-first indexing.
Yes, friends, it is here. But don’t panic. The sky is not falling and search will go on.
So what is mobile-first indexing? In Google’s latest release they define it as the following:
To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.
What Does Mobile-first Indexing Mean for Webmasters and Marketers?
Google will continue to have only one index (database of content) that it uses for providing search results. Up until this month, Google’s used a website’s desktop version for indexing content. Moving forward Google will be using the mobile version of a website or blog’s content.
Here are some additional details:
- While this change is rolling out, it will be done in waves and you may not be included in the changes at first.
- Google will notify you via Google Search Console when this change is processed on your website or blog.
- Mobile-first indexing is about how Google gathers content, not about how content is ranked. Content gathered by mobile-first indexing has no ranking advantage over mobile content that’s not yet gathered this way or desktop content.
- If you only have a desktop website (aka it is not mobile responsive), you will continue to be represented in Google’s index although you may not be ranked as well in search.
- Being indexed in this new manner operates independently from Google’s mobile-friendly assessment, which can alter your ranking.
Here is a great recap of changes by Google:
Most of our readers already have mobile responsive websites in place. If this is you, note that you probably don’t to worry about this change.
If your website is not mobile responsive, you should move quickly and correct this issue. You can either update your existing website for responsive behavior or you can utilize a new website template that is already coded for mobile responsive activity.
If you have a mobile website and a desktop website (two different websites) then you should review Google’s guide for best practices to make sure Google understands your content and can crawl it correctly.