In June, the SEO world was awash with news of a new core update. But something potentially even bigger is going to be happening in July.
From the start of the month, Google will be using its mobile-first index on all new websites. This is something Google has been talking about since 2016 and it is finally happening!
What is mobile-first indexing?
Mobile-first indexing is when Google uses the mobile (or responsive) version of your website to calculate where you appear in its search results. Google ranks based on a huge number of factors such as site speed, security, bounce rate and content. Initially this was done using the desktop of your website, but not anymore.
From July 1, Google will now only use the mobile-version of your website to work out where you should rank. If you don’t have a mobile version, then Google will revert to your desktop website but it may penalize you as a result .
What can I expect from Google’s mobile-first index?
What this means for you will depend on how old your website is and how proactive you have been.
New site owners
If you are a brand new website owner then the mobile version of your website of your website is going to be crawled by Google, regardless. This will be true even if your website was created before July 1 if it hasn’t yet been indexed by Google.
The good news is that almost all new websites should be ready for a mobile-first index. It is incredibly rare now that websites aren’t built responsive from the off. Because Google will be automatically indexing your mobile-version, you won’t be notified of this change in Google’s Search Console.
If you have already migrated to using the mobile-first index than nothing will change for you as well. Again, you won’t receive a notification from Google because you have already made the switch.
Don’t worry, if you aren’t ready for mobile-first indexing and have an old website you won’t be forced to switch just yet. Google is still committed to giving older websites time to get ready for a mobile-first index.
That’s not to say you can hang around, however. You should be doing everything to get your website ready for a mobile-first index. The sooner the better, otherwise you risk getting penalized.
Is the desktop version of my site going to stop being indexed?
No the desktop version of your website isn’t going to stop being indexed just yet, especially if you don’t have a suitable mobile responsive website in place yet.
When will I know my site is ready for mobile-first indexing?
Google provides tools to see if you are ready for mobile-first indexing or not. Start by using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if you’re ready. You can then use the URL Inspection Tool to check if Google is already crawling the mobile version of your website. If it is crawled by Google Smartphone then the mobile version of your website is being used.
For more information on mobile-first indexing or to get your website ready, get in touch with our search experts.