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An Insight to Google’s Mobile First Indexing Notices

Have you verified your website in Google Search Console? If so, you’ve probably received a notice from the search engine informing you that mobile-first indexing has now been enabled — leaving many webmasters concerned about their position on the search results.

In March this year, the official Google Webmaster Central Blog announced that, after over a year of careful experimentation and testing, it would begin migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing.

Although these changes have been made before, the latest batch of notices (which were released over several days) are thought to be the largest of its kind.

Mobile-first indexing

To have a greater understanding of the changes that have been made, you must know that the crawling, indexing and ranking system was most commonly used for the desktop version of a page’s content — something that has not been popular with mobile users, as each version differs significantly.

Through mobile-first indexing, Google has started using the mobile version of a page for indexing and ranking purposes to help mobile users quickly and easily find what they’re looking for. If you aren’t familiar with the way Google works, the search-giant formerly used the desktop version of a site to crawl and index, which raised problems at times for mobile-based searches when the site’s desktop platform differed vastly from its mobile platform.

The impact on rankings mobile and desktop only sites

Since the latest batch of notices was released on 18th September 2018, Google has said that it hopes this will not have an impact on rankings. However, if the content on your website is extremely different on desktop than on mobile, it could.

If your site has been shifted to mobile-first indexing and you remove content from the mobile version, Google will continue to index the mobile version. If there is no content, Google won’t index.

John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, tweeted: “A common misconception is that mobile-first indexing is related to mobile-friendliness — they’re completely independent. If you have that many sites verified (luckily there’s a 1k limit), I’d just mute that message.”

How mobile-first indexing works

Mobile-first indexing works by crawling a mobile version of a site for content that would seem useful for users who are searching for a specific term. For example, if a user was to enter “summer outfits” into the Google search bar then they would look for the most relevant sites to the query by judging the content on those pages. If your site had that content on the desktop version of the site but not the mobile version, your site would now not rank as high or at all for that search term as the content isn’t there for mobile users.

Our SEO experts are always on hand to help your business and make sure that your website is prepared for any future changes driven by Google. Contact our team today by filling out the form below to see how we can help with your transition from desktop to mobile indexing.

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