Google Makes Mobile-First Indexing the New Default

Google is making mobile-first search indexing the default for new domains. This means that anyone launching a new website will need to ensure the mobile version of their site is up to par. And Google strongly recommends webmasters deploy responsive web design.

Google Switches to Mobile-First Indexing

In 2016, Google announced mobile-first indexing. This was in response to how people were accessing Google, with more people searching from their mobile devices than their desktops. So, evaluating a website’s worth from its desktop offering made little sense.

Now, in 2019, even more people will be searching Google from their mobile devices. So Google will be using the mobile version of a website “to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”

Mobile-First Indexing Is the New Default

As a result of this change, starting from July 1, 2019, Google will enable mobile-first indexing by default for “all new, previously unknown to Google Search, websites”. This is achieved using a smartphone Googlebot which crawls the web for content.

To cope with this development, anyone setting up a new website should employ responsive web design. In a nutshell, responsive web design means your website will adapt to look good on all devices, whether it’s a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

For established sites, Google will continue to “determine their readiness for mobile-first indexing based on parity of content (including text, images, videos, links), structured data, and other meta-data (for example, titles and descriptions, robots meta tags).”

On the Google Webmaster Blog, Google expressed gratitude, saying, “We’re happy to see how the web has evolved from being focused on desktop, to becoming mobile-friendly, and now to being mostly crawlable and indexable with mobile user-agents!”

Mobile-First Indexing Makes Absolute Sense

With so many people using their smartphones all day, every day (for better or worse) this move makes absolute sense. Especially with people in developing countries often only having access to the internet because of their smartphones.

As our long-suffering web developer will testify, it’s a tough job. However, there are tools to help. If you’re running a website be sure to verify your domain. Why? Because there are some serious benefits of verifying your domain on Google and Bing.

Image Credit: Gary Paakkonen/Flickr

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