Google first announced the term “Mobile-first Indexing” on 04 November 2016 in his Official Blog post.
In this post, they reveal about experimenting on its indexing process due to technology enhancement as people are shifting from desktop to mobile. So, what it is all about? Let me explain it from the basics.
How do search engines work?
I know it’s a very basic question, but before understanding Google’s new indexing process we need to know the beginning. So, it’s a three-step process explained below:
It is a process in which Google’s web spider or Googlebot visits every website generated from the previous crawl process. Google bot evaluates and learns about web pages by analyzing metadata and keywords.
Google bot processes all web pages as per the information it gets in the crawling process and indexes them in such a way that helps in ranking.
Retrieval and Ranking
When a user searches any query, it searches the index and finds the most relevant results on the basis of certain factors like words appearing in the title, the page includes synonyms, quality of a website, and many more.
So, where above process helps us to understand the Mobile-First Indexing? As the name suggested, Indexing is where Google experimenting to improve user experience.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
According to Google’s statement:
“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”
Let me explain it in more simple words:
Earlier, Google worked on a desktop index that was created by the Googlebot desktop crawler. It showed results and snippets based on the desktop index.
So, how does it cause problems?
There are many cases where a user didn’t get the right results like redirection to a mobile site, things shown in snippets not available on the mobile version of the website, etc.
Now, Google has started to use the mobile version of the web as its primary search engine index. In other words, Googlebot-mobile crawls the websites first and based on the mobile index, Google retrieves results.
Business owners who have a responsive website and those who don’t have a mobile site are safe as Google says:
- If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup are equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
- If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user-agent to view your site.
However, If you have a mobile site, but content and markup on both web and desktop are different need to fix a few things suggested by Google:
- Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile versions.
- Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
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Also, if you still find any difficulty understanding it, feel free to ask your query in the comment section!