Google Mobile-First Index – What you need to know

What is mobile-first indexing?

Mobile-first indexing means that Google will mainly use your mobile site and its content for indexing and ranking. Prior to this, the desktop version of a website was being used to establish the relevance of the page to the user’s search query. This change comes with the growing number of users accessing Google through their mobile devices.  There will still only be one index used.

Google will continue to show the relevant URL to desktop and mobile users in search results.

Some of the best practices:

  • Mobile site and desktop site should contain matching content. This includes text, images and videos.
  • Structured data should be on both sites. Ensure the mobile version of the URLs in the structured data are updated to the mobile URLs.
  • Matching meta data on both sites. This includes titles and meta descriptions.

You can find more best practices here.


Will this affect or boost my ranking?

Google is on record saying that web content that is not mobile-friendly will not benefit from high rankings. Currently, Google uses indexed desktop content to display listings to both mobile and desktop users. With this change, Google will be displaying content indexed from mobile sites first. As long as your site is mobile-friendly, your rankings won’t be affected.


What factors will affect my ranking?

Since Google will rank based on the signals they get from crawling your mobile site instead of your desktop version, some important factors are:

  • Mobile site page speed
  • Title
  • H1s
  • Meta description
  • Structured data
  • Mobile content


What to expect moving forward

Google started with two indexes: mobile first and desktop first. Many mobile users are now starting to access the internet primarily through their mobile device instead of their desktop. In a blog post Google mentioned that they plan on moving toward a single index and are aiming at having their algorithms primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site.

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