Mobile-First Indexing: What You Should Know.

Mobile-first indexing refers to Google’s shift in content crawling and ranking from desktop to mobile versions of websites.

The mobile era has arrived. Mobile searches have already surpassed desktop searches for the first time in over five years. Because

versions will be seen by more people, it makes sense for Google to crawl and rank content based on them.

versions will be seen by more people, it makes sense for Google to crawl and rank content based on them.

This post will show you how to see if Google has already switched your site to mobile-first indexing and how to prepare if they haven’t.

Are you using a mobile-first indexing strategy?

In 2016, Google announced the switch to mobile-first indexing. Since then, they’ve been gradually expanding the number of venues where it’s available. Google hopes to have implemented mobile-first indexing for all sites by March 2021. In other words, their index will only be available on mobile devices.

A more complete timeline can be found here:

November 2016: Mobile-first indexing was announced and is now being tried on a few sites.

March 2018: Mobile-first indexing is being rolled out.

December 2018: Mobile-first indexing is now used by over 50% of crawled pages.

July 2019: For new sites, mobile-first indexing will be enabled by default starting.

March 2020: Mobile-first indexing is now used by over 70% of crawled pages. They also declared that by September 2020, mobile-first indexing would be implemented on all sites.

Also Read: Using Machine Learning In Google Search

July 2020: Coronavirus pushes back 100 percent mobile-first indexing till March 2021.

March 2021: a trial run of 100 percent mobile-first indexing will be launched.

According to the most recent data we have from Google, 70 percent of sites have already migrated to mobile-first indexing as of March 2020.

Best Practices for Mobile Indexing as per Google

Ensure that Googlebot can access and render your mobile page content and resources.

Also use identical meta-robots’ tags on the mobile and desktop site. If you use separate meta robots tag on the mobile site (especially the no-index or no follow tags), Google may fail to crawl and index your page when your site is activated for mobile-first indexing.  Also avoid lazy loading of primary content upon user interaction. Googlebot wont load content that needs user interactions (for instance, swiping, clicking, or typing) to load.

Also Read: Google’s Link Spam Related Algorithm Update

Ensure that Google can view the lazy load content.

Allow Google to crawl your content. Some content might have different URLs on the mobile site from that of the desktop site. If you wish Google to crawl your URLs, ensure that you are not blocking the URL with the disallow directive.

Improve Performance in Google’s Mobile-First Index

Here is a collective list of items to check that build on some of the best practices stated above.

  1. If There Are Multiple Versions, Ensure
    Important Content Is Shown on All

Make sure all your major content- including structured data, internal links, images etc.- are available on the mobile version of your website too.

Google even cautions in its mobile-indexing best practices that if you have limited content on your mobile page compared to your desktop page, you will suffer a loss of traffic when your site is moved to mobile-first indexing.

  • Allow
    Googlebot to Access and Render Your Content

Google advises that you use the same meta robot tags on the mobile site, refrain from using primary content (Googlebot can’t load content that needs user interaction) and enable Googlebot to crawl your resources.

Also Read: A ‘How to Guide’ to App Store Optimization

  • Authenticate Structured Data

Verify that your structured data is the same on both the desktop and mobile versions and make sure that the URLs are correct.

  • Improve Mobile Page Speed

Page speed has been an important element to consider for a very long time and it is even more critical with the mobile-first index and Page Experience update.

  • Watch out for Mobile Errors

As with most SEO-related tasks, getting a site to work well in the mobile-first index is not a ‘once done then forget’ task. You need regular monitoring of the Search Console so that you can detect and resolve the mobile error. Consistently review the mobile usability and Core Web vitals reports in the Search Console. Want to improve your SERP results? Contact us to get access to our latest technologies now!

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