Google announced in their official blog that they are going to use mobile-first indexing for the whole web starting September 2020.
What is mobile-first indexing?
Mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of a website’s content to rank pages. The search results will still be available for both desktop and mobile devices. However, the focus will be on mobile.
The reason for that is that most people search Google using a mobile device. Google began mobile-first indexing in 2016.
When Google switches your website to mobile-first indexing, it will see an increase in Googlebot’s crawling, while Google updates its index to your site’s mobile version. Depending on the domain, this change can take some time.
What’s the impact on your search engine rankings?
Google does not create a separate mobile-first index. They continue to use only one index. The contents of mobile pages will be used with Google’s ranking algorithms. The ranking of your web pages now depend on the content of the mobile version of your web pages.
If you use responsive web design, then the pages for desktop and mobile are the same. In that case, your 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.
What do you have to do now?
1. Use responsive website design
If you have a responsive website or a dynamic serving website where the content and markup is the same on mobile and desktop, you do not have to change anything.
Google recommends responsive website design:
“While we continue to support various ways of making mobile websites, we recommend responsive web design for new websites. We suggest not using separate mobile URLs (often called ‘m-dot’) because of issues and confusion we’ve seen over the years, both from search engines and users.”
2. Adjust your pages if you do not use responsive website design
If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site:
- Serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
- Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
- If you have only verified your desktop site in Search Console, add and verify your mobile version.
Mobile SEO tools
The Top 10 Optimizer in SEOprofiler helps you to optimize your web pages for high rankings on Google Mobile. The Ranking Monitor in SEOprofiler can check the rankings of your web pages in Google’s mobile search results. The website audit tool checks the mobile version of your web pages: