Google announced that by September 2020 all websites will be crawled and indexed via mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing has been in the works since 2016. About 70% of the websites shown in search have already been switched over to mobile-first indexing, according to Google. This change isn’t a huge surprise to most, but it may be something that could affect older or out-of-date sites.
Google Webmasters tweeted an excellent explanation of what is about to happen, “Mobile-First Indexing at Google is becoming the default later this year. Googlebot is leaving its desktop behind, and using a phone, like most of our users.”
This basically means that the means in which the Googlebots are going to be looking at your site is through a cell phone. This is going to be an improvement to our search results as users since 52.6% of website traffic worldwide is on mobile devices.
Within Google Search Console, you can check for mobile-first indexing in two places. The status can be found on the settings page as well as in the URL Inspection Tool. If your site has already been indexed with mobile-first indexing, it will be noted in these areas.
If your site hasn’t been indexed with mobile-first indexing yet, you should receive a notice from Google with more information. Some of the notices could contain an issue detected. Here is a screenshot of a notice:
On an analytics note, if your site hasn’t been mobile-first indexed yet, Googlebots may be all over your website soon. Google said “When we switch a domain to mobile-first indexing, it will see an increase in Googlebot’s crawling, while we update our index to your site’s mobile version. Depending on the domain, this change can take some time.”
There are a lot of different factors that go into mobile-usability. Google’s guidance on making websites work well for mobile-first indexing stays relevant for exiting and soon to be websites.
Google says, “In particular, we recommend making sure that the content shown is the same (including text, images, videos, links), and that metadata (titles and descriptions, robots meta tags) and all structured data is the same. It’s good to double-check these when a website is launched or significantly redesigned.”
Here are a few tools to utilize to check your site’s mobile health:
At the end of the day, this all comes down to user experience. If you’ve run any of these tests on your own and don’t know how to fix it (or have no idea what any of it means), you are not alone. This is where we come in.
If you are finding yourself needing a website overhaul or need advice on whether or not your site is mobile-first index ready, please give us a call.