Has Google enabled mobile-first indexing for your website? How will this influence your rankings on desktop?

Many webmasters have received a “mobile-first indexing enabled for www.website.com” notification from Google during the last few days. What does this mean? Will your website get better rankings on mobile now? Will your desktop rankings drop?

mobil-first indexing

Google now indexes the mobile version of your web pages

Google mobile-indexing change addresses indexing, not ranking. Before, Google added the desktop version of web pages to its index. That has changed. Google now adds the mobile version a web page to the index.

That means that the contents of the mobile pages will be used with Google’s ranking algorithms. The ranking of your web pages now will depend on the content of the mobile version of your web pages.

Your desktop rankings might drop

If you use responsive web design, then the pages for desktop and mobile are the same. In that case, your desktop rankings won’t change at all.

If you have mobile pages that are different from the desktop version of your web pages, your desktop rankings will change based on the content that can be found on your mobile pages.

If important content is missing on your mobile pages, your desktop rankings might drop. Make sure that your mobile pages contain the same content as your desktop pages. Responsive web design is the easiest way to do that.

You won’t get better rankings on mobile

Even if your website cannot be displayed correctly on mobile devices, Google can switch your website to mobile-first indexing. Being indexed by Google’s mobile bot does not mean that the website will get ranked in the mobile results. Google’s John Mueller explained this some time ago:

“The other thing to keep in mind is that the mobile first indexing is not mobile-friendly indexing. So it’s not related to whether or not a site is mobile-friendly.

It’s really just the indexing part that’s switching over to mobile and the friendliness aspect is something that’s still a ranking factor in the mobile search results but it’s independent of their indexing.”

Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor in the mobile search results. Even if your website gets indexed by Google’s mobile bot, Google won’t rank it if your website isn’t mobile-friendly.

What you should do now

If you haven’t done it yet, you should make sure that your web pages work on mobile devices as soon as possible. The easiest way to support mobile devices is to use responsive website design. SEOprofiler offers several tools for mobile SEO. You can create your SEOprofiler account here:

Optimize for mobile

Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".