Google announced that all the websites will be switched to mobile first indexing by March 2021. Earlier in 2016, Google affirmed that most people were searching for and browsing through smartphones. This led to mobile-first indexing which Google initially experimented with.
For many, mobile first indexing is already done but now Google has announced switch to this method of indexing and ranking for all of the websites. This will change a lot of things for webmasters. This chances SEO for websites. Now speed, over all optimization and content of a website from the mobile perspective will determine a website’s value and ranking.
The SERP ranking of a website is now dependent upon its mobile version. Websites that were initially taking desktop versions of their websites seriously to increase their SERP ranking will need to focus their efforts on their mobile versions and for many that didn’t care for the mobile versions of their websites will now have to work on them.
What is Mobile First Indexing?
Mobile first indexing means that Google will crawl, and index content of a website based on the mobile version as a priority and it uses these results to determine the website’s SERP ranking. SERP ranking based on the mobile version will be based on a lot of factors and one of the most important factors for this is the responsive design of the website. The number of smartphone users is increasing every day.
Google anticipates 73% of searchers to be using a smartphone for searching and browsing websites by 2025. With this high rise in smart phone users, if a website is not optimized to be used on a smartphone then it is already losing a percentage of its market by being not mobile friendly.
Google will now crawl websites on their mobile versions using a mobile bot and the SERP ranking will solely base on that.
Is your website ready for switch to mobile first indexing?
Businesses, brands and individuals who have websites with similar or identical versions of their websites for desktop and mobiles do not have anything to worry about. If a website is optimized for mobiles will give users the similar user experience that they will get when they use the desktop version then the ranking and value of that website will not change.
Problems will arise for website owners who have not mobile optimized their websites. The desktop and mobile versions of a website do not have to be identical. They both just have to give the best UX. A responsive design with fast loading time is important for a good user experience.
Here are a few factors which will determine if your website is ready for mobile first indexing:
A split-second delay can make a visitor abandon your website and move on to another. It is important to check the loading time of a website on a mobile device. A few ways to reduce the loading time include:
- Adopting accelerated mobile page protocols
- Make images mobile friendly
- Don’t clutter a web page with too much content that it will take forever to load.
Images and video availability
Video and image visibility are important. It is important that the accessibility of images and videos on mobile devices should be checked. If videos or images are not responsive, then the video player needs to be checked. Visit your website on a mobile device to see if the images and videos are loading and running correctly.
The website layout should reflect a mobile screen. Clickable buttons should be large enough that they can be clicked unlike desktop versions where a click from a mouse is required.
How to check if Google has already switched your website to Mobile First Indexing
Google has been slowly transitioning the website to mobile first indexing and it claims to completely move to mobile first indexing by March 2021. There is not too much time before Google will shift all the website rankings to base on their mobile first index results.
- To learn if Google has already switched your website to mobile first indexing, sign in into your Google Search Console.
- Find Go to the old version and click on it.
- Then click on Messages from the left navigation menu.
- Click on Search Console. When using the desktop version, the Google Search Console shows messages for that version only. You have to click on All Messages from the navigation menu on the left to see messages from both desktop and mobile versions.
- You will see a notification or a message that your website has been switched to Mobile First Indexing.
If you have somehow missed this message or if you just want re-affirmation that your website is actually switched to mobile indexing now, there is a simple way of checking if your website has moved to the new method of ranking. You can enter the URL of your website or any web page to the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console. The result will show how it was last crawled and indexed by Google.
If your website has not yet been switched to the Mobile first indexing, then it will soon be. Check your website for mobile friendliness, UX and other important factors that will affect the SERP rankings when the switch to mobile indexing happens for your website.