Search engine giant, Google, reveals in their latest blog post their plan to switch to mobile-first indexing for all websites beginning September 2020.
Google shared that based on their analysis, most websites displayed in search results are good to go for mobile-first indexing. It is a given fact that 70% of all those shown in search results have already shifted over since they rolled out mobile-first indexing in 2016.
At the moment, the search giant confirmed that they’ve been continuously moving sites to mobile-first indexing every time their systems recognize that they are already compatible or ready.
Google described in detail what will happen after a website is switched to mobile-first indexing:
“When we switch a domain to mobile-first indexing, it will see an increase in Googlebot’s crawling, while we update our index to your site’s mobile version. Depending on the domain, this change can take some time. Afterward, we’ll still occasionally crawl with the traditional desktop Googlebot, but most crawling for Search will be done with our mobile smartphone user-agent. The exact user-agent name used will match the Chromium version used for rendering.”
Google recommends that website owners should use the Search Console. Website owners can see their website status on the Search Console settings page. They can also view it in URL Inspection Tool if they want to check when a specific URL is most recently crawled.
Google published a detailed guideline for mobile-first indexing best practices. Here are a few crucial tips that you can find from their guideline.
Consistent Website Data in Both Mobile and Desktop Versions
In the guideline, they told website owners to make sure that the content shown both in their site’s desktop and mobile versions should be the same. Website content such as the text, images, videos, links, and metadata such as titles, descriptions, robots meta tags, and all structured data must be consistent on both mobile and desktop versions.
Use URL Testing Tools
Google recommends the URL Testing Tools as the primary tool to check if both the desktop and mobile versions of a site are the same. But, for those who use other means, the search giant advised them to use a mobile user-agent to match what Google Search sees.
Responsive Web Design
Google also strongly recommends responsive web design for all new websites. They discourage website owners from using separate mobile URLs, as this often confuses both search engines and users.
If a website can only be viewed properly in desktops, then it is not serving its purpose anymore, which is to be accessible to as many people as possible. If a website is not included in mobile-first indexing, then it loses a huge opportunity to become an income-generating tool for businesses.
As the biggest search engine is now gearing to entirely switch to mobile-first indexing, creating responsive web design websites is a must to avoid losing leads and, ultimately, profits.
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