According to Barry Schwartz, Google has just announced all new websites that are not known to Google search will be indexed using mobile-first indexing from the 1st July. Older websites that are still being indexed using desktop-first will not be switched on the 1st July but will be moved when those websites are ready. These older websites will still be monitored and evaluated based on best practise.
“Mobile-first indexing will be enabled by default for all new, previously unknown to Google Search, websites starting July 1, 2019. It’s fantastic to see that new websites are now generally showing users – and search engines – the same content on both mobile and desktop device,” Google wrote in its latest statement.
Mobile-first indexing is where Google will crawl and index your website based on the mobile version which will therefore determine your rankings. With the rise in searches on mobile, it only makes sense to serve those best suited sites that are mobile friendly. Over 50% of what Google indexes is indexed using mobile-first index so making sure your website is prepared for this change is vital.
Mobile-first indexing may or may not affect your website as it all depends on the set up and how your site renders. Below I have listed the site types and if you need to make any changes to your website before it is changed to mobile-first indexing.
Desktop only, Responsive sites or Canonical AMP sites
If you have a desktop only website, a responsive website or a canonical AMP site, there will be no change at all due to the mobile version being exactly the same as the desktop version.
M-dot site & Dynamic Serving site
If your website is an m-dot site that has separate URLs for desktop and mobile or users a served a different content based on the device being used, Google will prefer the mobile URL and you will need to make some changes to your website to prepare for when your website it switched to mobile-first indexing.
Top tip: Make sure both versions of the site contain the same content, structured data and meta data.
AMP and non-AMP website
With this type of site, you will have both AMP and non-AMP versions of the same page which will serve two different URLs. For mobile-first indexing, Google will prefer the non-AMP URL so if your non-AMP versions use dynamic or separate serving URL, you will need to make some changes before 1st July comes around.
Top tip: Like the m-dot site, make sure both versions of the site contain the same content, structured data and meta data. You can find out additional best practices from Google here.
Google has said older websites that will not be switched over on 1st July will be notified via search console once the website it ready so keep an eye on your messages! Another sign reported to be a signal that your site has moved over is a label to say your site was last crawled by Googlebot smartphone useragent in the URL inspection tool.
“For older websites, we’ll continue monitoring and evaluating pages for their readiness for mobile first indexing and will notify them through Search Console once they’re seen as being ready,” Google stated.
This is a huge change in the SEO industry and something that can have a major impact on your website if not addressed properly resulting in indexing and ranking issues.