Google Will Be Manually Moving Remaining Sites to Mobile-First Soon
As one of the various changes coming to search in 2021, mobile-first indexing has had a long journey into becoming a reality over the past several months (and years), as it originally began rolling out back in 2019. Thankfully, it seems the light at the end of the tunnel is coming soon.
Here is what John Mueller of Google recently stated on the rollout of mobile-first indexing in a recent “SEO Office Hours” session from Google:
“We have the deadline, I think, set for, we essentially had it set for March. I think there are some technical details with the last sites that we are working out. So we can switch them over in an optimal way. But at some point, it will just be switched over. If that is still in March or maybe in April or maybe even ends up in May, I don’t know. But we are going to be switching all of these sites and if your site is ready then that will just happen then.
I think from what I heard from the team we are currently in a state where we are not automatically moving sites over anymore but rather saving all of these up for that last moment and switching a lot of those over at once.
So if you improved your site for mobile-first indexing, then that will just happen. And if it is already showing the same content on mobile that it shows on desktop, then you won’t see any effect. It is not like you will have a ranking boost or any kind of improvement in indexing because of that.”
How Powerful Will Mobile-First Indexing Be?
There has been recent chatter on how the upcoming May 2021 core update, focused on page experience, might not be as impactful as industry professionals originally believed. However, according to Mike King, Founder and Managing Director at iPullRank, it might actually be the biggest shake-up of 2021 for SEO.
In his article, he points out disparities around how Google bots have been crawling sites, sites’ internal links on mobile vs. desktop, and word count on mobile vs. desktop.
You can check out the full article on the iPullRank blog to get more details and see the evidence King collected.
Check Your Site’s Mobile Status
Curious to see how your website will do with mobile-first indexing? Here are a few things to check out:
- Test your mobile page speed using PageSpeed Insights
- Look for issues with mobile usability in Google Search Console
- Audit AMP pages (if you have any) using ScreamingFrog’s SEO Spider
- See what your site looks like on different mobile devices using Mobile Moxie’s Page-oscope
Mobile-First Indexing Best Practices
As well as doing your own digging on how your site is currently performing on mobile, here are some best practices that Google has published in order to help site owners:
- Ensure crawler bots can access your site
- Check that content is the same on both desktop and mobile
- Check your schema markup/structured data
- Use the same metadata on both desktop and mobile
- Look at on-page ad placement (if applicable)
- Check your site’s images and videos