Google’s mobile-first indexing change

19 Jun 2018

As Google begins rolling out mobile-first indexing to more and more sites, Google is seeing some confusion within the industry around mobile-first indexing and has decided to clarify some points.

Confused about the Google Mobile-First indexing change?

Here are the key points…

URLS with Mobile-First indexing

If you deploy different URLs for mobile versus desktop, Google will show the mobile searchers your mobile URL and the desktop searchers your desktop URL. In both cases, the indexed content will be the mobile version of the site, even if Google shows the desktop URL.

Our websites are designed with a single URL for mobile and desktop do not need to worry about this.

Crawling changes

What is crawling and indexing?

Crawling basically means following the path, following your links and ‘crawling’ around your website. Google indexing is the process of adding webpages into Google search.

Google states that the crawl count per day won’t really change, but the balance will shift from desktop pages crawled to mostly mobile pages crawled. Google also may temporarily increase crawling when it reindexes your website.

Cache bug!

The last few weeks we noticed several warnings from Google that some of our client websites have an index issue. There is currently a bug with the Google cache that when a site is moved over to the mobile-indexing process, the Google cache link sometimes may not return anything and may 404 or show a blank page. This is a known bug that Google is working on fixing and has zero impact on indexing and ranking.

Speed update is unrelated to Mobile-First indexing

The speed update that is coming up in July is unrelated to mobile-first indexing. Yes, you should make your site fast, especially for mobile users, Google says, but the speed update is not directly related to mobile-first indexing. The Speed Update will only impact a small percentage of queries.

The ‘Speed Update’ applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content. Only pages that ‘deliver the slowest experience to users’ will be impacted by this update.

Mobile friendliness is not required

Your website does not need to be mobile-friendly or responsive to be included in the mobile-first indexing process. In fact, the first sites to move to mobile-first indexing were desktop-only websites. Pages without mobile versions still work on mobile, and are usable for indexing.

Nevertheless, it’s about time to move from desktop-only and embrace mobile!

Ranking boost

Being switched to mobile-first indexing does not give you a better ranking in Google search. While being mobile-friendly is a ranking factor on mobile, it is unrelated to being in the mobile-first index.

More information on the Mobile-First indexing and mobile website:

Catalyst Directions – Your SEO Partner

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results, often referred to as ‘organic’ search results. SEO sounds complicated, and it is kind of tricky, but the reason we do it is simple – to make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your website content.

SEO is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimisations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.

The key to success with SEO is to get clear on the terms your customers actually type in when they are looking for what your products or services. We base our optimisation decisions first and foremost on what is best for the  visitors of  your website. They are the main consumers of your content and are using search engines to find your business. SEO is about putting your site’s best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines.