While we are all pretty used to Google shaking things up every now and then with major changes that affect SEO and rankings, they are now planning on implementing changes on July 1st 2019 that will affect the mobile market.
Their new mobile-first indexing changes will mean that this system will now become the default for all new web domains as of July 1st.
Up until this year, using a website’s mobile version to index its pages was only being used for just over half the search results for web pages in Google. As of the 1st July, mobile-first indexing will be the default for all new web domains going forward.
What do these changes mean for new websites?
What this means is that anyone registering a new website after this date will have their site crawled by Google’s smartphone ‘Googlebot’. The results displayed in searches will be mobile-friendly content and will show snippets where relevant.
Mobile-first indexing was first developed by Google back in 2016, with plans to roll out the new indexing system throughout 2018 to just a small handful of sites. However, they didn’t specify which sites this was being tested on.
In March 2018, mobile-indexing began to roll out on a much broader scale resulting in more than half of all web pages being indexed by Googlebot by the end of the year.
Why is Google bringing in these changes?
The new changes are being introduced to help primarily mobile users to better search the web and get relevant results.
Statistics show that since 2015, the vast majority of Google users initiate their web searches from their smartphones. So it makes complete sense to optimise mobile-friendly indexing to deliver better results the first time.
This will mean that smartphone users will be delivered the mobile version of websites rather than the desktop version for more easy access and navigation.
The growing mobile trend
Mobile-first indexing is just one of the advances that Google are implementing to deliver a better service for mobile users. With the larger mobile majority in mind, Google had already started to boost websites in their rankings that had mobile-friendly webpages.
This means that how fast your web page loads will determine your page’s mobile search rankings. Since July 2018, any slow-loading web pages and content were being down-ranked in favour of more mobile-friendly pages and content.
The importance of being mobile-friendly
While most modern websites now display the same content across all platforms (desktop and mobile), those older websites or sites built without mobile optimisation will now be at a great disadvantage.
Anyone worried about their website can check for mobile-first indexing by using the URL Inspection Tool in the search console to check when their site was last crawled and indexed by Google.
Google also provides support and help for website owners about how to make their website work for mobile-first indexing.
The focus now going forward is on more websites being mobile-friendly and ultimately crawl-able and indexed by mobile indexing tools.