What is Mobile-first indexing, and why is it the need of the hour?Mobile-first indexing | 11 March 2020 Reading Time: 2 minutes
Mobile-first indexing is exactly what it sounds like! When it comes to ranking your website on Google, the mobile version of your website will become the starting point to determine the basis of your rankings. Monitoring crawl bot traffic to your site will reveal results where you can see an increase in traffic from smartphones, and the majority of the cached versions of your page will be the mobile version.
It’s called mobile-first because it does not purely focus on mobile-only indexes, since websites can exist where they do not have a mobile-optimized version, and can still be included in the index. But not having a mobile-optimized variant of your website can severely impact your rankings! A site with a better experience on mobile has the potential to boost its rankings, even for searchers on a desktop.
Google has been working mobile-first indexing since 2016 and was constantly working on making it the default behavior of its search engine. And now, Google has announced that mobile-first indexing will become the default behavior for all websites from September 2020. This decision came through after Google started researching and monitoring the behavior of people and the websites. In 2019, Google went all-in and used mobile-first indexing for 50% of the webpages it showed in its search results. Today, that number stands at 70%. This number is only expected to rise in the coming months, and by September 2020, all its websites are expected to have a mobile presence to stand a chance to be ranked on Google.
Google says that the majority of the sites are ready for its new system, but it will still use the traditional Googlebot to crawl the desktop website occasionally. This means, website owners will see a rise in Google’s crawling in the next couple of months, as the company will be using two different crawlers: one that will identify itself with the mobile smartphone user-agent and the one that will look like the Chromium version to render the desktop site. For the majority of the part, website owners will see the mobile agent.
For most of the sites, the switch will be seamless, and you won’t see any difference. But if you are one of those websites that do not have a mobile-optimized version of itself, it is high time you create one for yourself. It would be best if you were exposing structured data on your desktop site as well as on your mobile site as well. Google also notes that it recommended websites not to use separate mobile URLs as it can cause issues and confusion that they have been facing over the years from both – users and search engines. Webmasters can make sure that their website is ready for the change coming from Google by heading over to Google’s search console and checking the status of their pages. Google’s guidance with regards to optimizing a site for mobile-first indexing remains the same.
If you are amongst the 30% of people who are awaiting their mobile version, you can come over to us at ValueHits. We can help you out with Mobile Optimization and make sure your page ranks higher than your competition. Visit our website to know more.