Google Announces Mobile-First Indexing Across the Entire Web by September 2020

At the top of March 2020, Google announced that by September of this year, it will have made the switch to mobile-first indexing for all websites across the web. The gradual movement towards mobile-first indexing has been taking place for a few years now, dating back as far as November 2016 when Google first announced they would be experimenting with making the index mobile first. By 2017, it began evaluating sites for readiness and notifications to site owners about the mobile-first indexing moves began in 2018. Since then, updates and announcements have continued, with Google’s smartphone Googlebot continuously crawling the web.

Google’s aim has always been to continue improving the interactions between users and online content and they’ve acknowledged the successful work webmasters have done to facilitate the transition from desktop to mobile-first indexing. They’ve stated that a majority of the sites that are shown in search results – about 70% –  have already made the shift and are ready for mobile-first indexing. In the meantime, as more and more sites make the switch, Google’s smartphone bots will be continuing to crawl the web, moving sites to mobile-first indexing when it is detected that they are ready.

As a full-stack marketing agency, we’ve monitored all of Google’s updates and guidelines closely, keeping our clients abreast of any and all changes. We’ve worked on making many of our clients’ websites responsive over the years and implemented changes that have kept them ahead of the quickly evolving requirements.

With the switch being made official, that means it’s more important now than ever for webmasters and content creators to check for mobile-first indexing. One way Google has cited is to use their Search Console to check the status. This is one of the many ways we help our clients assess their website’s capacity for mobile. We inspect individual URL’s and review information about Google’s indexed version of any specific page. We also identify structured data errors, AMP errors and indexing issues and formulate a plan to correct these.

Our team checks the status of a URL’s index, inspect live URLs, request indexing for URLs and view rendered versions of the pages to help us better understand the status of a clients’ site. We also take a look at a loaded resource list and JavaScript output, among other information.

Google’s Recommended Optimization Guidelines for Mobile-First Indexing

Google has recommended users stick to these guidelines when implementing mobile-first indexing optimization:

  1. Content such as images, links, text and videos should be the same from desktop to mobile.
  2. Metadata such as robots meta tags, titles, alternative text and descriptions on mobile should match what’s on desktop.
  3. If the website was recently launched or redesigned, Google recommends users carry out checks in regards to content and metadata.
  4. Allow Google to crawl your resources. Some resources feature different URLs on the mobile site and the desktop site. Be sure you’re not blocking the URL with the disallow directive if you want Google to crawl your URLs.

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In addition to these guidelines, Google also encourages the use of responsive web design for new websites and discourages the use of mobile URLs, sometimes known as m-dot, due to various issues and confusion these URLs have created for both search engines and users.

Our team has been helping clients optimize their sites for mobile for years. If you’re in need of making the switch or aren’t sure about your site’s readiness for the transition, contact us to help you evaluate your site and get your site ready if need be.

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