Having a mobile-friendly website is no longer considered optional. It is now a requirement, or at least for new websites, according to a new statement released by Google. Starting on July 1st, 2019 all new websites will be indexed using Google mobile-first indexing. It is also fair to say that Google is gradually heading to a mobile-only indexing system.
On May 28, Google published a blog post in which it confirmed the move. Older web sites that are still not being indexed using mobile-first indexing will not be switched over. These websites will be moved when Google deems them to be ready to be moved to mobile-first indexing. Webmasters of those websites will be contacted via Search Console when the move is complete.
Researchers like Barry Schwartz and Danny Sullivan speculate that Google’s goal is not to have a desktop index as well as a mobile index, but rather, just one index only. Though there has been much confusion in the past, Google has stated that they are not indexing your mobile site and your desktop site separately. Rather, they are solely using the mobile indexing as the one.
Unlike with existing websites that get notifications when they are moved over, Google will not be notifying webmasters of new websites. “Since the default state for new websites will be mobile-first indexing, there’s no need to send a notification,” Google stated in the blog post. They did however leave one very important tip: webmasters should pay attention to their structured data and alt-text for images on mobile pages.
What is Mobile-First Indexing? | Online Marketing Toronto
Mobile-first indexing simply means that the mobile version of your website is what Google bots will crawl first. It also serves as the baseline for how Google determines rankings. If you monitor incoming traffic to your website through Google Analytics you may notice an increase in traffic from Smart phones and Tablets. You may also notice that the cached versions of pages are the mobile version of the pages. This means that your website has been successfully moved to mobile-first indexing.
Mobile-first should not be confused with mobile-only index. They are not one in the same. If an existing website does not have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop site can still be included in the index…that is only for websites that have previously been indexed by Google. But the lack of a mobile-friendly experience could impact negatively on the rankings of your website and a website with a better mobile experience would potentially receive better rankings.
Do Sub-Domains Get Moved with Root Domains to Mobile-First Indexing?
Speaking to our clients, there has been a lot of confusion as to whether or not sub-domains, such as blog.example.com and news.example.com, will be moved to mobile-first indexing with the root domain example.com. This question has also been finally answered.
Google’s John Muller has clarified the confusion. Muller, while responding to a question on Twitter, stated that Google will move domains as well as its sub-domains to mobile-first indexing. This means that your entire website along with sub-domains will be moved to index mobile-first rather than desktop-first. So it is necessary to make all your domains and sub-domains compatible for mobile-first indexing rather than just your root domain.
This is a blog post with information that requires your immediate attention. If you launch a new website that is not compatible mobile, then you may have issues with SEO and Google indexing in the future. Make sure to test your website and build it in a way that is responsive to the device it is being browsed on. For more details or assistance do not hesitate to contact our digital marketing team in Toronto.
About iRISEmedia | Digital Marketing Agency | Toronto
iRISEmedia is an award-winning Digital Marketing agency located in Toronto that focuses on helping clients in Canada, the U.S. and internationally with digital marketing services consisting of:
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