Mobile-First Indexing by Google

GOOGLE ANNOUNCED MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING STARTING FROM SEPTEMBER 2020 

Most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. Google has  announced that from September 2020, All WEBSITES will be moved to mobile-first indexing.

What is mobile-first indexing and how it will affect your website SEO?

Google crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Google continued to have one single index that used for serving search results. We do not have a “mobile-first index” that’s separate from our main index. Historically, the desktop version was indexed, but increasingly, we will be using the mobile versions of content.

Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly will use the mobile version of your website content for indexing and search engine ranking. You will see an increase in the Googlebot’s crawling while Google update our index to your site’s mobile version.

Google will still continue moving sites to mobile – first indexing ONLY when Google systems recognize that your website is ready.  Meaning a responsive mobile website is now very important.

MOBILE – FIRST INDEXING BEST PRACTISES

1. MOBILE RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN

If you’re not sure, check using Google Mobile Friendly test too:  https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

2. MAKE SURE THAT GOOGLEBOT CAN ACCESS AND RENDER YOUR MOBILE PAGE CONTENT AND RESOURCES

  • Use the same meta robots tags on the mobile and desktop site.If you use a different meta robots tag on the mobile site (especially noindex or nofollow), Google may fail to crawl and index your page when your site is enabled for mobile-first indexing.
  • Don’t lazy-load primary content upon user interaction.Googlebot won’t load content that requires user interactions (for example, swiping, clicking, or typing) to load.
  • Let Google crawl your resources.Some resources have different URLs on the mobile site from those on the desktop site. If you want Google to crawl your URLs, make sure that you’re not blocking the URL with the disallow directive.

3. MAKE SURE THAT CONTENT IS THE SAME ON DESKTOP AND MOBILE 

If your mobile site has less content than your desktop site, consider updating your mobile site so that its primary content is equivalent to your desktop site. Expect some traffic loss when your site when your site is enabled to mobile- first indexing, since Google can’t get as much information from your page as before.

Use the same clear and meaningful headings on mobile site as you do on desktop site.

4. CHECK YOUR STRUCTURED DATA 

  • Make sure that your mobile and desktop sites have the same structured data. If you have to prioritize which types you add to your mobile site, start with BreadcrumbProduct, and VideoObject structured data.
  • Use correct URLs in structured data. Make sure that URLs in the structured data on the mobile versions are updated to the mobile URLs.
  • If you use Data Highlighter, train it on your mobile site. If you use Data Highlighter to provide structured data, regularly check the Data Highlighter dashboard for extraction errors.

5. CHECK YOUR VISUAL CONTENT – IMAGES 

  • Provide high quality images. Don’t use images that are too small or have a low resolution on the mobile site.
  • Use a supported format for images. Don’t use unsupported formats or tags. For example, Google supports SVG format images, but our systems can’t index a .jpg image in the <image> tag inside an inline SVG.
  • Don’t use URLs that change every time the page loads for images.Google won’t be able to process and index your resources properly if you use constantly-changing URLs for them.
  • Make sure that the mobile site has the same alt text for images as the desktop site. Use descriptive alt text for images on your mobile site as you do on your desktop site.
  • Make sure that the mobile page content quality is as good as the desktop page.Use the same descriptive titles, captions, filenames, and text relevant to the images on the mobile site as you do for the desktop site.

If you don’t have a technical person or team to handle the changes above, you can email us to help you meet Google requirements.

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