Around 30% of All Sites to be Affected by Mobile First Indexing Move
Big news was recently announced by Google (no, not another core update). According to the search engine giant, by September 2020, all websites across the globe will be moved over to mobile-first indexing. This process was a long time coming, as it took Google around 4 years to finally move from a desktop-first indexing process to a mobile-first indexing process. https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1235600905124433922?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1235600905124433922&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.seroundtable.com%2Fgoogle-mobile-first-indexing-september-2020-29117.html However, it likely won’t have a significant impact on most sites, as Google reported that 70% of sites served in search are already through mobile-first indexing. This means that only 30% of sites will actually be moved over to mobile-first indexing this fall. If this is the first, you’re hearing of this, don’t fret, as Google will be issuing notices to all affected sites. You can also check whether your site will be moved over on Google Search Console. This information can be found both on the settings page along with the URL inspection tool.
Ok, Great. Now, What Does All This Mean?
What this means is that for sites that have not yet moved over to mobile-first, as of September, Google will start crawling and indexing these sites based on how they appear on mobile devices. This could be a risky move, as sites that are still on desktop-first indexing have remained this way up to this point because they appear so different from other sites in terms of content, structured data, links, images, etc. that Google felt that moving them would lead to a significant drop in rankings. This is why Google is being proactive about notifying webmasters and allowing them to address any issues that could cause problems once their site is moved over to mobile-first indexing.
How to Stay Ahead of the Curve
So, what can you do to ensure your site remains unaffected? Google’s advice for optimizing your site for mobile-first indexing is to ensure that your content (including text, images, videos, links), metadata (titles and descriptions, robots meta tags) and all structured data are the same across mobile and desktop. Google also recommends using a responsive web design for new websites and suggests not using separate mobile URLs. If you do get a notification and decide not to take any action, then expect your rankings to fluctuate come September. But if you’re among the lucky 70%, congratulations. You get to sit back, relax, and keep doing what you’re doing.