Google Search Will Now Enable Mobile-first Indexing for All Websites In March 2021

As expected, Google has delayed its plan for going 100% into mobile-first indexing. Previously, the company announced that it would switch to mobile-first indexing in September of this year. However, after the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, the search giant said that it may push this deadline back to give website owners extra time to prepare. This week, the company decided that it will start ranking all sites based on their mobile versions in March 2021.

In a blog post Yingxi Wu, Google's Mobile-First Indexing team member, stated that their initial plan was to enable mobile-first indexing for all websites in Search in September of this year, but Google said that it realizes that in these uncertain times, it is not easy to focus on all types of work. So, the company decided to extend the deadline to the end of March of next year.

Switching to mobile-first indexing is something Google has been working on for the past several years. The company tested with this approach back in the year 2016, and last year, Google started indexing all new domains based on the mobile-oriented websites by default. Despite the delay in the deadline, website owners will want to optimize their sites for smartphones as soon as possible.

The company posted some issues it still sees websites making, which may cause issues with a website being pushed to mobile-first indexing. It a website is switched to mobile-first indexing and the website has those issues, the ranking of the site in Google can and most likely will change. You need to double-check these issues between your desktop version of the site and smartphone version of the site.

1. You should use the same robots meta tags on the smartphone version as well as on the desktop version.

2. Follow lazy-loading best practices, and avoid lazy-loading primary content based on user interactions.

3. You should ensure that you are not disallowing the crawling of URLs with your robots.txt file.

4.The primary content should be the same on desktop and mobile versions of your site.

5.Check your photos and clips including the image quality, all attributes of photos, different photo URLs between desktop as well as mobile version, video markup, and video and picture placement.

The recent announcement is essentially a tutorial for how you can improve common mistakes that can negatively affect mobile ranking as well as indexing. As mobile-first indexing has already been enabled for most currently crawled websites, some people speculated that the delay in deadline was because of hastily migrated phone subdomain websites.

Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, John Mueller, also confirmed this is the case and recommended website owners to avoid this dated approach. Website owners can check to see if their website is on mobile-first indexing within Search Console. Google will also notify of issues within Search Console.

Read next: Google Tests Improved Local Panels To Highlight When A Business Last Updated Its Working Hours
Previous Post Next Post