Google Poised for Shift to Default Mobile-First Indexing by Summer 2019
It is no secret that today’s netizens rely heavily, some almost exclusively, on mobile access to site content. Ensuring an optimized experience for these users not only helps deliver smoother access but often translates to more meaningful interactions and expanded growth opportunities for SMBs.
As part of this continuing emphasis on mobile accessibility, Google announced plans to implement mobile-first indexing as the system’s default method for ranking new sites. To get ahead of the power curve, startups with sites in development should pay particular attention to optimizing for mobile users.
Why Mobile-First Indexing?
Users across many parts of the globe have become accustomed to obtaining immediate access to data and services they need from mobile devices. From social media interaction to online shopping, entertainment, banking and more, mobile devices now fuel nearly every aspect of life in the modern world. Google’s recent announcement solidified what many forward-looking site owners and developers knew was inevitable: the paradigm shift away from designing sites for desktop access and, instead, a new focus on mobile access.
To capitalize on this shifting landscape, starting on July 1, 2019, Google plans to assess and rank every new site via mobile-first indexing. This transition indicates that a mobile version of a new website will serve as the starting point for Google to crawl, or explore, pages and determine an overall ranking. Although the process will not exclude desktop versions, the crux of the data factored in to the equation will come from mobile sites.
Preparing Your Site for Mobile Optimization
Currently, when the Googlebot crawls new or updated pages on a site for indexing and ranking purposes, it scans for a wide range of site components including:
- Structured data
- Site loading speed
- Page headings
- Metadata, tags and descriptions
- Consistency of high-quality content
Each of these components is important for web developers to consider when designing and launching new websites optimized for mobile access. Site owners should take full advantage of the URL Inspection Tool to check the status of mobile-first indexing for a particular site. This valuable tool shows when your site was last crawled and indexed.
To boost your site’s rank, and optimize for mobile-first indexing, consider incorporating the following best practices.
- Update your structured data on both versions of your site
- Maintain content consistency across the mobile and desktop versions of your site
- Utilize metadata titles, descriptions and tags across both versions of your site
- Verify the mobile and desktop version of your site in Google Search Console