Google's New Normal: Mobile-First Indexing

Web Design, SEO

It’s official– as of July 1, 2019, mobile-first indexing will be the default for every site Google crawls and indexes. Google has never been secretive about wanting sites to be mobile-responsive. Since people are searching more from mobile devices than desktop computers, the minds behind the algorithm want to make sure their product is taking users to pages that will look good on any device. Their commitment to ranking responsive sites is evident in several important updates throughout the past few years.

Google’s Mobile-First Timeline – Key Dates

  • April 2015 – Google announces “Mobilegeddon,” stating that sites will get priority in search results if they show up well on smartphones.
  • November 2016 – Google announces that they’ve begun experimenting with mobile-first indexing to account for the higher volume of mobile searches.
  • December 2017 – Google begins to transition a small number of sites to mobile-first testing.
  • March 2018 – A year and a half after their first experiments, Google announces they’ve started to roll out mobile-first indexing on a larger scale.
  • December 2018 – Google Announces that mobile-first indexing is at work on more than 50% of web pages in global search results.
  • May 2019 – Google announces that mobile-first indexing will be the new default for previously un-crawled sites.
A high-level look at Google’s mobile-First timeline

What Does Mobile-First Indexing Mean?

The key takeaway from Google’s new announcement is that all sites absolutely must be mobile-friendly to rank high in search results. The official announcement indicates that preference will be given to sites that are built responsively:

“While we continue to support responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate mobile URLs for mobile websites, we recommend responsive web design for new websites.”

How Can I Tell if My Site is Mobile-Friendly?

Luckily for site owners, it’s unbelievably simple to find out if your site is mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes. You can use Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test. Enter your site’s URL, and you’ll get fast, straightforward feedback.

Google also offers more reporting through Google Search Console.

Responsive Web Design and SEO

Simply put, every serious business should have a responsive website. Google’s ability to discern a site’s mobile-friendliness is getting better all the time, and non-responsive sites just don’t stand a chance at ranking high in the search results. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, the best time to change that is several years ago– the next best time is right now. Contact us today to get a quote for a customized website built with responsive design.

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