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Posted On: 3rd December 2020

What is Mobile First Indexing?

Back in March 2018, Google released an announcement that they’ve started migrating sites over to mobile-first indexing – but what is mobile-first indexing and how does it affect your website? Quite simply, it means Google now uses the mobile version of a website’s content for indexing and deciding where to rank you in the search engine results page.

Before mobile-first indexing, Google would use the desktop version of a website for indexing. A website’s ranking within the search engine results page would depend entirely on content designed for desktop computers rather than mobiles. To cater to users browsing the web on other devices, you’d often find websites with completely separate desktop and mobile URLs.

Since then, there has been a shift to responsive web design, where a single website should be able to look good and offer the same content on any device, no matter the screen size or layout.

From September 2020, mobile-first indexing will be used to crawl all websites on the web

What does this mean for your website?

  • Make sure your website is responsive. This means your website’s content is dynamic and automatically changes with the user’s screen size and resolution – no matter the device, screen size or resolution.
  • Keep the same content on mobile and desktop. If your mobile site is missing content that appears on your desktop site, this now won’t be seen by Google and will not contribute to your ranking position.
  • Don’t have two separate versions of your website for desktop and mobile. Just don’t – or you’ll be in Google’s bad books!

Top Tip: Google has its own Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check if your website page is mobile friendly, so make sure to check this to see if there will be any fundamental errors when Google attempts to index your site. We also recommend checking Google Search Console frequently for any errors, warnings or coverage issues that need to be rectified. Oh – and don’t forget to check your site on an actual mobile to review the design and usability of the page!

If you need help to figure out whether your website is up to scratch for mobile-first indexing, get in touch with our team and we’ll offer our expert advice and support.