Starting July 1st, 2019, Google will begin defaulting to mobile-first indexing for all new sites. This change only applies to new sites. Older sites will not be switched to mobile-first indexing immediately, but Google eventually will index all sites via mobile-first indexing. (Don’t worry – Google will notify older sites that they will prioritize how your website reads on mobile devices via Google Search Console before making the switch.) It’s also important to note that there isn’t a separate mobile-first index; Google Search only uses one index and will show the URL that is most appropriate to users whether they are using a desktop machine or mobile device.
Google’s states, “We’re happy to announce that mobile-first indexing will be enabled by default for all new, previously unknown to Google Search, websites starting July 1st, 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 devices!”
What is Mobile-first Indexing?
Mobile-first indexing encompasses how Google reads your websites. This helps them determine where you land on Google search results (and you always want to rank as high as possible). So, when Google crawls and indexes your website, they prioritize websites in search results based on how a site renders on mobile devices rather than desktop computers.
When Google registers a new site, it will be crawled by Google’s smartphone bot with an emphasis on mobile-friendly content being indexed. To check for mobile-first indexing of your website, you can use Google’s URL Inspection Tool in Search Console. The readiness of existing websites is tested based on uniformity of content (including text, images, videos, and links) along with structured data and meta-data. When a website is launched or redesigned, it’s essential to check for these factors.
Along with using a single URL for both desktop and mobile versions of websites, Google has a checklist to help you prepare your site for mobile indexing. If you want your website to continue garnishing organic search results—or if you are planning to create a new site—it’s important to keep Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing in mind.