Google Mobile First Indexing is Beginning
After a year-and-a-half of testing, Google mobile-first indexing is beginning. This is where they index what’s on a mobile-version of a page rather than the desktop version. Rollout will be slow, according to Google, and to be clear – they will always use desktop if no mobile version exists.
To recap, their 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 Google will use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help their, primarily mobile, users find what they’re looking for. Google state:
- Mobile-indexing is rolling out more broadly. Being indexed this way has no ranking advantage and operates independently from our mobile-friendly assessment.
- Having mobile-friendly content is still helpful for those looking at ways to perform better in mobile search results.
- Having fast-loading content is still helpful for those looking at ways to perform better for mobile and desktop users.
- As always, ranking uses many factors. We may show content to users that’s not mobile-friendly or that is slow loading if our many other signals determine it is the most relevant content to show.
According to Google, websites that are not in this initial wave don’t need to panic. Mobile-first indexing is about how they gather content, not about how content is ranked. They also add that content gathered by mobile-first indexing has no ranking advantage over mobile content that’s not yet gathered this way or desktop content. Moreover, if you only have desktop content, you will continue to be represented in our index.