Mobile-First Indexing Is Now the Default Process in Indexing and Crawling Websites
Google, the most popular and largest search engine worldwide, announces that starting July 1, 2019, mobile-first indexing will become their default in indexing and crawling websites on the World Wide Web. This change means the mobile version of all new websites are now crawled and indexed by Google’s smartphone Googlebot by default.
Why Is Google Doing This?
The majority of Google’s millions of users are now on mobile or smartphones. Being able to meet the users’ demand while still providing users with the highest quality experience has always been Google’s top priority. With this update, they’ve now established that the need to improve mobile search results is also a crucial component to making their customers happy.
Over the past several years, the search giant has also been educating the public about mobile-first indexing, but it was on March 2018 that Google did the first roll-out after announcing their intention to focus more on delivering quality mobile search results in 2016.
Using this timeline, we can conclude that the search giant has been preparing this update for a long time and is something that doesn’t only impact the quality of mobile search results — but also website rankings in general.
How Does It Affect Website Search Rankings?
This update will only affect websites without mobile versions or those that don’t support responsive web design. If your website only has a desktop version, this update means losing the opportunity to be discovered by millions of potential users who use mobile devices.
When your website is not crawled and indexed for mobile-first indexing, you won’t even have the chance to rank higher with the search engines because your webpages are simply not there. Lacking an online presence leaves you with zero opportunity to compete, which puts you at a great disadvantage against your competitors.
How to Know if Your Website is Included in Mobile-First Indexing?
You can check your website yourself to see if it’s being properly crawled and indexed under mobile-first indexing by using the URL Inspection Tool in Search Console. This tool displays information about Google’s indexed version of a specific page and include AMP errors, structured data errors, and indexing issues.
Google also provides those who haven’t transitioned yet to mobile, a detailed documentation to help them successfully transition. Here’s what Google said on how they treat old and existing websites.
“For older or existing websites, we continue to monitor and evaluate pages based on the best practices. We notify site owners through Search Console once they’re seen as being ready. Since the default state for new sites is mobile-first indexing, there’s no need to send a notification to new sites.”
How Do You Improve Ranking in Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Era?
If you’re like most businesses and want to improve ranking in mobile searches, Katie Lynn of KissPR, one of the leading digital marketing agencies in Dallas, advises website owners and webmasters to do the following.
Use Structured Data
Lynn recommends that website owners should use the same structured markup for both desktop and mobile version. Website owners and webmasters can verify if their desktop and mobile versions have the same structure data by using this tool. She further explained that when adding structured data to a mobile site, a website owner should not use large amounts of markups that are irrelevant to a specific page’s content.
Use Robots.txt Testing Tool
It is important that a website is designed in a way that can be easily accessed by Google crawlers. Verify that your website has already done this by using the robots.txt testing tool here.
No Need to Modify Canonical Links
Our SEO experts recommend that business owners stick to Google’s advice, which is to not do any canonical links modifications. Google will continue to use these links as guides so they can deliver more accurate results to users whether they are on a desktop or mobile version.
Start Using Google Console
We strongly advise business owners to verify the mobile version of their websites in Google Search Console. Tracking your website performance and getting the latest updates or errors can help you improve your search ranking.
How Does Google Determine an Existing Website’s Readiness for Mobile-First Indexing?
Google makes its decision based on parity of content (text, images, videos, and links), structured data, and meta-data. Website owners should double-check these factors when they are launching a new website or redesigning an old one.
The search giant also pointed out the importance of only using a single URL for both desktop and mobile websites.
“While we continue to support responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate mobile URLs for mobile websites, we recommend responsive web design for new websites. Because of issues and confusion we’ve seen from separate mobile URLs over the years, both from search engines and users, we recommend using a single URL for both desktop and mobile websites.”
Are You Still Solely Running a Desktop Website?
It’s not yet too late to boost your site’s responsive web design. If you are still solely running a desktop website, it’s now the time to go mobile. Let us help you do it. Call us at 972-437-8942 for a free consultation, or you may get in touch with our team through our contact form.