Mobile-First Indexing Explained | Everything You Need to Know


    With mobile-first indexing, Google gives more weight to mobile apps of websites when determining search engine rankings.

    Have you heard that mobile devices currently account for more than half of all Internet activity? That’s why Google prioritizes the mobile version of a website when indexing and recommending it to users. 

    How long has it been since you last used a desktop computer to do an internet search?

    For a long time now, more internet queries have been made through mobile devices than from desktop computers.

    Google has already been pushing on mobile-first ranking for several years now in response to the dramatic change in how consumers do internet searches.

    To help you understand Google’s new mobile-first indexing strategy, We’ve written this blog. All right, let’s get going right now.

    The term “mobile-first indexing” means precisely what you believe it does.

    With mobile-first indexing, Google can focus largely on the mobile version of a website when evaluating how highly to place it in search results.

    But this does not imply Google exclusively looks at your mobile website when determining its ranking.

    If that’s the case, does Google really have two separate indexes?

    The answer is No.

    However, you must remember that Google Search maintains to utilize just one index, not really a dedicated mobile-first indicator, as the company describes it. How well a visitor is on a desktop computer or a mobile device, Google Search will always deliver the most relevant URL.

    In this case, Google will direct computer visitors to the computer URL and mobile visitors to the mobile URL if you create separate URLs for the two different versions.

    Even so, the mobile version would be the first to get indexed. 

    Should We Treat Mobile-First Indexing and Mobile Functionality the Same?

    Are Mobile First Indexing and Mobile Functionality the same?

    Of course, you may check how well your website looks on various mobile devices.

    Learn how well your site works on mobile devices by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.

    Simply provide the URL of the website you want to test and the tool will return any possible problems with the page’s accessibility on mobile devices.

    Google's Mobile Friendly Testing Tool

    Is it true that mobile-first indexing and mobile-friendly design are the same things?


    That is an incorrect assumption made by many people.

    “As an extreme scenario, consider how difficult it is to work with a Portable Document Format (PDF) file on a mobile device. It’ll be difficult to use the links, and reading the content will be a chore. But the content is still present and we’re able to index it nicely using mobile-first indexing.

    Since indexing based on mobile-friendliness is sufficient for inclusion in mobile-first indexing, this means that even sites without the need for a mobile-specific subdomain may participate.

    Mobile-First Indexing: A Timeline

    It’s been a long time since Google initially implemented mobile-first indexing, so let’s take a closer look at just how far it’s come.

    In November 2016, Google began testing mobile-first indexing.

    In December 2017, Google started trying whether or not websites were mobile-friendly enough to be included in the search engine’s index.

    In March of this year, mobile-first indexing became available.

    Starting in July 2019, all fresher websites will be indexed using smartphones first.

    70% of Google’s index switched to mobile-first indexing by March 2020.

    So why is it crucial to index content with mobile devices in mind first?

    Indexing content with mobile devices in mind is not optional.


    You have a mobile-friendly computer version of your site, yet it isn’t accessible from mobile devices.

    Since Google will now prioritize mobile-friendly content in its index, a subpar mobile experience will have a greater impact on your search engine rankings than a stellar desktop one.

    On top of that, your results will fall behind the competition in search engines if you don’t update your site to be mobile-friendly.

    Users accessing your site via mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones are less likely to stick around if your site is not optimized for them.

    The result will be a significant drop in mobile site visitors. That’s just not a positive thing for your site, particularly when mobile searches are on the rise.

    Having a mobile-friendly site is essential if you wish to rise in the Google search results.

    In light of Google’s recent shift to “mobile-first indexing,” a mobile-friendly website is essential.

    Google has declared that mobile-first indexing will be the standard for any sites created on or after July 1, 2019, even if it is already being implemented for earlier websites.

    Even if Google bots haven’t visited your site before, this still applies.

    To help you prepare the website for mobile-first indexing, we’ve compiled some guidelines.

    mobile first indexing guidelines

    Open Up Your Content

    Ensure Google’s crawlers can get to your smartphone content on the site so it can be indexed and ranked.

    Make sure the robots.txt file is not preventing users, particularly on mobile, from accessing the most important areas of your site.

    Its same meta robot tags should be used for desktop and mobile versions, according to Google’s recommendations.

    Whenever you switch to mobile-first indexing, Google may not crawl and index your material if you employ nonstandard meta robot tags.

    Don’t Allow Primary Content to Sloppily Load

    Whenever users visit your site, they should not have to wait for the major material, particularly the parts that need their participation.

    All sorts of activities, such as typing, swiping, and clicking may count as encounters.

    It’s important to make sure Google can see your sloppily material. This will allow Google to discover your resources.

    Provide Identical Information to Both Mobile and Desktop Users

    Is there less information available on the mobile edition of your site than on the desktop version?

    Then it’s time to refresh the material.

    Your website’s traffic will suffer if you don’t provide enough information on your mobile page.

    Google suggests being consistent throughout your website’s mobile and desktop iterations.

    With mobile-first indexing, your mobile page’s information will be the same as that of your desktop site.

    Mobile users will benefit from a unique layout, so feel free to experiment with that.

    All headings should be used in all versions, and both should be complete.

    Keep your headlines simple, straightforward, and straight to the point. Both the desktop and mobile variants of your website should have consistent headlines.

    Headings make it easy for both your customers and the search tool to determine whether the information presented is appropriate to their query.

    Make good use of heading tags to attract targeted visitors and increase sales.

    Data structure from your desktop version must be used directly

    Utilizing data sets or schema content to organize your material is a great strategy for ranking well in search engines.

    It’s important to apply the same kind of sample that was added on mobile pages as you used on the computer and laptop versions of your website.

    If your site’s mobile and desktop versions have separate URLs, you should update your data sets to reflect the correct ones.

    Be sure to utilize the same Metadata

    Descriptions and titles used in meta tags provide indications of relevance to that same search engine.

     Apply similar meta tags for the mobile version of your website as you would for the computer website. 

    This will guarantee that your mobile site’s metadata is consistent with that of your desktop site.

    That being said, among the most significant ways to take advantage of mobile-first indexing is to make good use of your meta tags.

    Pick the Best Spots for Your Ads Wisely

    Pick the Best Spots for Your Ads Wisely

    Web material is not seen in the same way by mobile users as it is by desktop users.

    To make the most of the limited real estate on mobile devices, your call to action must be crystal clear.

    Users may have a negative experience with a mobile app if ads are too prevalent or inappropriately placed.

    Placement of advertising is important, therefore take care to avoid disrupting the experience for mobile users whenever possible.

    Poor ad placement techniques include those that force users to scroll past useful material or shut down the site entirely (such as pop-ups, full-screen advertising, and autoplaying videos).

    Your site’s bounce rate will certainly grow significantly if you utilise such advertisements.

    In the context of mobile-first indexing, these are obvious warning signs.

    Check Your Visual Resources

    If you want Google to index your site, you need to be sure that any videos or images you post are in a format that Google can read.

    Verify that the quality of your graphic material is sufficient. If not, you may want to switch them out for some new, increased visuals.

    Utilize the same alternative text, file names, and descriptions for mobile versions of pictures that you employ for desktop versions.

    When designing your mobile site, keep in mind where customers will be holding their phones so that they can conveniently see any videos you provide.

    Never use dynamic URLs that change every time a media file is accessed. Google is unable to index images like this.

    Don’t use fragment URIs

    Don't use Fragment URL's

    But what exactly are URLs for fragments?

    The separated pieces of a URL are known as fragments.

    A fragmented URL may look like this:

    Google says that most URL fragments can’t be indexed.

    As a result, they will not be rated.

    After Google has indexed your website for mobile subscribers, fragmented URLs are typically no longer accessible.

    However, Google gives more weight to mobile-friendly versions of websites when determining search engine rankings, thus fragment URLs are bad for your site.

    Keep the Current Error Page Displayed

    Let’s say that the desktop version of a page on your site serves information to search engines and users equally, but the smartphone version presents an error page code.

    When mobile-first indexing is on, the website won’t be indexed by Google at all, regardless of how high-quality the information may be.

    The end outcome is…

    If an appropriate search is performed, your website will just not appear.

    Ensure the page condition is identical on both the desktop and mobile editions to prevent this problem.

    Your desktop website must mirror the message shown on the mobile website whenever an issue occurs.

    If there are inconsistencies, Google will remove your page from their index.

    Verify Whether or Not Your Site Has Been Optimized for Mobile Users

    As we’ve said before, mobile-first indexing is now the norm for all new websites as of July 1, 2019, and Google has migrated the bulk of existing sites over to it as well.

    There might still be websites that haven’t been indexed with a mobile-first priority.

    The transition to mobile-first indexing by Google may be confirmed.


    This message will appear in the Google Search Console if your site is indexed with portable priority.

    Google search console Mobile Indexed Report

    The mobile-friendly version of your website has been indexed.

    One of your pages should be inspected by doing a URL inspection in the Google Search Console.

    In a little while, you will get the outcomes.

    Bonus Material: The Ultimate Google Guide to Google Search Ranking Systems


    If you’ve switched to mobile-first indexing, you shouldn’t have to worry about the impending change. If you haven’t already, you should probably check it out and get ready while there’s still time. Be certain your website works for mobile users since they are quickly becoming the standard.


    What do you mean by indexing?

    Thanks to Google’s App Indexing, those who have downloaded your app may access its contents immediately from Google’s mobile search listings.

    What year did Google start prioritizing mobile-friendly indexing?

    Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Policy Should Be The Standard For All Latest Websites

    To clarify, Google said the update will affect formerly unindexed websites when it released the announcement in May 2019.

    Exactly what does “mobile-first indexing” entail?

    To put it simply, indexing for mobile devices first When indexing and optimizing material, Google primarily considers the mobile website. To determine whether or not a page was relevant to a user’s query, the index has traditionally relied heavily on the computer version of the website’s content.

    How Does Google Do Its Indexing?

    Crawlers are software programs that automate the process of indexing content for use in Search. These will go to publicly available websites and follow any connections they find, just as you would if you had been exploring the web manually.

    When will Google’s indexing begin?

    The time it takes for Google to scan your site and begin assigning it credibility might vary anywhere from 4 days to 6 months.

    About author
    Gurpreet Kaur
    Gurpreet Kaur is a highly-skilled and exponentially experienced content writer at IndeedSEO. She has a passion for content writing and has written several quality blogs, articles, press reports, and more in several niches. Her expertise has helped several of our clients achieve their objectives and sustainable results in the long term.

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