The second batch of websites that Google will be rolling out the mobile-first indexing to received their notices through Google Search Console this week. There has been much confusion surrounding why some of these websites getting their notices are not mobile friendly, others less maintained or much smaller.
What is Mobile-first indexing?
Mobile-first indexing is where Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your sites content for indexing and ranking for SEO. Previously, Google’s index always used the desktop version of a sites content when crawling for the relevance of a page, but with more and more users searching on a mobile device, Google needed to update how it indexes pages.
Why would Google move these websites to mobile-first indexing?
Firstly, being mobile friendly IS NOT a requirement for moving your website to the mobile-first indexing process. They are two completely different terms.
Remember, Google has a single index. It doesn’t have an index for mobile vs desktop. Those trying to stay with desktop only to avoid mobile-first indexing by not being mobile friendly are wasting their time!
The ‘friendly’ aspect is still a ranking factor in any mobile search results, but it is independent of Google’s indexing. Desktop only websites can still be responsive across devices. Showing the same content more or less, regardless of if you have to pinch to zoom.
So in summary, desktop sites not being equivalent to mobile is not a problem. They are still one site and if they have no technical issues are a great fit for mobile-first indexing! Pretty simple when you think about it.
When should I start preparing for the new mobile-first indexing?
Google has already completed the first batch of mobile-first indexing which was for new websites. This new index is now set as default for any new websites. This second batch is for older or existing websites. Google will notify site owners when this will commence through Search Console.