After a year and a half of testing, Google has rolled out mobile-first indexing.
According to Google, their “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. Mobile-first indexing means that we'll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they're looking for.”
Google will keep one single index that will be used for serving search results. They will not have a “mobile-first index” that’s separate from their main index. Historically, the desktop version was indexed, but increasingly, they will be using the mobile versions of content, as stated in their press release.
Google stated that “sites that are not in this initial wave don’t need to panic. Mobile-first indexing is about how we gather content, not about how content is ranked.”
At this time, content that is gathered by mobile-first indexing does not have a ranking advantage over mobile content that has not yet been gathered. The same goes for desktop content. Additionally, if you only have desktop content, your site will still be represented in Google’s index.
Google does encourage webmasters to make sure their content is mobile-friendly. All content is evaluated in the Google index to determine how mobile-friendly it is.
So, what does this mean for you? What can you do to make sure your site is mobile friendly?
Run Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This test for each page takes about 60 seconds to complete and provides you with a pass-fail result. If your page happens to fail, Google will suggest some ways to resolve your site’s issues.
Make Sure Both Your Mobile and Desktop Sites Have the Same Metadata
According to Jill Kocher Brown, writer and search engine optimization expert, “the metadata we use most for SEO speaks to search engines directly from each page crawled, to communicate important information or request a specific action from the search engine.”
Make Sure Your Website’s Mobile Version and Desktop Version Have the Same Content
Sometimes mobile versions of websites contain less content than desktop sites. It is vital that both your mobile and desktop version now have the same content. This will allow site visitors to find your content with mobile-first indexing.