We have been hearing a lot about mobile-first indexing and how Google has started giving preference to the mobile version of websites. In this post, we will help you understand more about this very subject.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
Mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of a website’s content for ranking and indexing purposes. Mobile-first indexing was rolled out on 1st July 2019, for all websites. However, prior to this, Google used the desktop version of a page’s content for ranking and indexing. Mobile-first indexing was rolled out as the number of mobile users has increased drastically as compared to desktop users. Google now uses a smartphone agent to crawl and index your website.
What is the effect of Google’s mobile-first indexing on the different versions of websites?
If you have a responsive website, Google will crawl the mobile version of the website to collect content and later, index the site. In this case, the point to bear in mind is that the website should be responsive on both devices, i.e. the desktop and mobile.
If you have both desktop and mobile versions of your website, i.e. example.com and m.example.com, Google will consider the mobile version as the primary one and crawl it first to index your website based on its mobile-first index search algorithm update.
Here are a few best practices to follow post the Google mobile-first index update if you happen to have a separate mobile version of your website:
- As the Google bot will crawl the mobile version first, it is recommended to check if the content on your desktop and mobile sites is the same.
- Check the presence of structured data on both the versions of the website.
- Ensure that titles and meta descriptions are the same across both versions of your site.
- Update the robots.txt files for both versions of the website if needed.
- Check if hreflang is properly implemented on the mobile and desktop versions of your website.
- Check if the mobile and desktop versions have the proper rel=canonical and rel=alternate link elements.
It is nice to see the web evolve from being focused on desktop sites to being mobile-friendly after the mobile-first index announcement. If you have questions about the Google mobile-first index update or any other topic, let us know in the comments section below! Watch our blog for more such news and updates on SEO.
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