Google Mobile-First Indexing: Will It Impact SEO?

Google started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing has been the talk of 2019 in the SEO world.

Google explained a bit more about mobile-first indexing. Mobile-First Indexing indicates Google will predominantly use the mobile version of the content your business wants to imitate for indexing and ranking. There’s furthermore uncertainty what this implies toward the mediocre business owner. Do you have to shift anything or everything? If your site is mobile-friendly, will that be much satisfying?

In this post, I’ll go over the basics of what is “mobile-first indexing”. I’ll also answer questions about mobile-first indexing and what it means for our SEO efforts.

What is Google Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile-first indexing approaches indexing-not ranking. While mobile-first represents a major shift for Google and how it has traditionally indexed web pages, it does not significantly indicate that much will change for several websites. All that Google is doing is changing which version of the web page content it is indexing, favoring to index the mobile version first.

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If we think back to how indexing works, remember that indexing is simply the reading and storing of the information. Then what is the challenge presented by mobile-first indexing? If your mobile version of your web page’s content does not suit that of the desktop variant, you may face some difficulties.

For many sites, such as most sites using active web design, there will be no issue at all; because the content on mobile and desktop versions are likely alike. The problem occurs when a web page has different content on the mobile version than it does on the desktop version, and typically, for size and space reasons, this means there’s less content on the mobile version. If the content that’s missing on mobile contains some important ranking signal, then that page could rank lower.

Best methods advised for Mobile-First Indexing for SEO

Your mobile content can be less in words but should be alike to website content as this will influence your authenticity.

  • Proper and regularly structured data should be present on both the variant
  • Metadata should be present on both the version of the website
  • Verify both the version of your website on search console
  • Check Sitemap links for desktop and mobile URLs.
  • Enough capacity at the server end
  • Check your robot.txt directives

What should I do about mobile-first indexing?

To understand more about how Google determines the mobile content from a site, see our developer documentation. It covers how sites using responsive web design or dynamic serving are generally set for mobile-first indexing. For sites that have AMP and non-AMP pages, Google will prefer to index the mobile version of the non-AMP page.

Mobile-first indexing, content which is collapsed or hidden in tabs, etc. due to space limitations will not be treated differently than visible content (as it may have been previously) since this type of screen real estate management is actually a mobile best practice.

  • 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.

When thinking about SEO and factors, return to the basics: indexing and ranking. Be sure not to conflate the two, because each has a specific function, purpose, and effect on your website and how you appear in search results.

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