Mobile first index rolls out to more websites

The talk of a mobile first index has been something which has circulating for some time. Many of you will be now be aware of the dominance of mobile search over desktop search, and some it reasonably follows from this that further developments in the mobile section were likely to follow.

The latest news from Google is that a batch of potentially many sites will soon move over to the mobile first index. The initial plan was for all sites to become transferred to this index during 2018 but this has been scaled back with Google now admitting that they won’t disclose when the migration is complete. Read what you will into that, but it sounds like it could be a longer and more complicated process than was originally thought. Some commentators have effectively read between the lines and said that the rollout may never fully occur to all sites which significantly downgrades Google’s original aspirations for the programme.

How will it be known if I have been selected?

The answer to this is not easily! Users will have to manually search their user logs to see whether Google mobile bots have been crawling it. If this occurs a high percentage of the time, then chances are it is.

What does it mean to be mobile first indexed ready?

There are a number of signals which Google uses to determine whether a site is worthy of appearing on the mobile first index. These include information like:

* Making sure content is exactly the same for the desktop and mobile versions of the website.

* The inclusion of Meta titles which apply to the mobile site aswell as the desktop.

* Ensuring that the hosting server has sufficient capacity to be able to handle the extra crawling from Google mobile bot.

* Making sure that structured data is present in both the mobile and desktop form if it is absent or missing in the former.

Ultimately, what are the benefits of being on the mobile first index?

You may be thinking it’s great you have done all these things but what is the point anyway and is it just extra work for no gain?

The idea behind the mobile first index is that a mobile version of a website will be classed as the main barometer for how rankings are classified and showed. Those who appear on this index are likely to be viewed more positively and favourably for ranking purposes because of the massive shift towards mobile search and the likely progression forward of this.

Final piece of advice?

One thing that isn’t clear: why Google hasn’t been fully clear about their intentions with respect to this and what this could mean?

One thing that is clear: mobile optimisation and development must feature in your marketing strategy.

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