Google has been working hard to make the World Wide Web more user-friendly and reflect the user behaviour trends. The mobile-first indexing is the most recent development. A lot of confusion surrounds what the mobile-first indexing means for average business owners and its effects on the user-friendly websites.

  • First, what is “mobile-first indexing”?
  • Mobile-first indexing means that your website’s mobile version will be the starting point of the Google search engine’s indexing and the baseline for the rankings. And if you have been monitoring the crawl bot traffic to your websites, you might have noticed a traffic increase form the Smartphone Googlebot. The cached webpage versions will be the mobile versions of your website pages.

    Google named it mobile-first because it is not meant for the mobile versions solely. For example, Google can also include your desktop website on their index if you are not operating a mobile-friendly version. However, the lack of a mobile-friendly site can negatively affect your site’s ranking. A website with good mobile experience would receive a boost in ranking including when the users use desktop computers.

    Mobile-first also means that Google will consider the mobile version of your website first. Therefore, if you are running equivalent desktop and mobile website versions, the change will not have any effects on the performance of your website or rankings.

    For a long time, the desktop website versions have been the primary websites – more like the canonical URL – and Google treated the mobile version as the alternate version. Google encouraged webmasters running separate mobile sites to implement the switchboard tags, which indicated the existence of mobile URL versions with special alternate tag.

    Therefore, marketing teams and SEOs prioritised on desktop websites and treated them as the most comprehensive versions with structured data mark-up, full content, backlinks, and hreflang. The mobile versions consisted of light content and did not include a similar level of structure and mark-up. The sites would also not receive a similar level of external attention and backlinks.

  • What to do about Google mobile-first indexing
  • You should not panic. Mobile-first indexing is in the testing stage and Google is rolling out gradually to websites that they consider ready for the change. If your desktop website is identical to our desktop’s site or the website is responsive, you do not have to do anything differently.

    However, you must prioritise on the load time and mobile page speed and the other dynamic elements of your website for the best mobile experience. With mobile-first indexing, Google will not treat any collapsed content or one that is hidden in tabs differently from the visible content.