Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Now Powers Over Half of Google’s Search Results

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Google announced moblie- first indexing for over half of the pages in global search results. That means that it is more likely that the pages you visit from a Google search are based on how Google crawled and indexed that content based on the mobile version of that page.

Mobile-first indexing is simply how Google crawls and indexes the web. Instead of looking at the desktop version of the page, Google looks at the mobile version of the page.

When Google indexes a page, it’s essentially deciding how ready it is for public consumption and under which conditions it will appear in search results. As the world continues to shift its browsing habits from desktop to mobile at breakneck speed, Google has reached a significant milestone in adapting its indexing to the trend. This means that the majority of websites ranking in its search will have gotten there based on the page’s mobile content rather than desktop.

Since the company began experimenting with mobile-first indexing two years ago, Google notes that more sites have embraced the mobile web. Sites are moved to mobile-first indexing by the “Googlebot Smartphone” when tests show that a page is ready, namely, it features a responsive design. Google advises developers to make sure mobile pages carryover structured data from the desktop counterpart. It also notes how a “page does not need to be mobile-friendly in order to be considered for mobile-first indexing.”

Google will typically notify you when your site has moved to mobile-first indexing within Google Search Console. So make sure to check your messages in the Google Search Console. Google will also label your site as last crawled by the Googlebot smartphone user agent in the URL inspection tool as another signal that your site has moved over. Google says you should pay attention to your structured data and alt-text for images on mobile pages with this change.

Google states that “if your site uses responsive design techniques, you should be all set”, but there are some other issues you can address to help your site make the switch:

  • Make sure to use structured data in the mobile version of your site, and
  • Include alt-text for images on mobile pages

Considering the rate at which Google has migrated the first half of its page indexing to mobile, it likely won’t be long until we approach the finish line.