In March 2021 Google introduced a significant change to the way in which it indexes websites by indexing only mobiles sites.
Google has been using mobile-first indexing for years, which means it has primarily been considering the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking. Google will now only consider mobile sites. Desktop versions will be dropped from the index altogether. So as far as Google is concerned, only mobile sites exists and it will ignore any important images, content, or information that only appear on the desktop version.
As such, it’s important to ensure Google can see the full content of your mobile site by doing the following:
- Check your robots meta tags
- Be careful with lazy loading
- Don’t disallow crawling
- Match your desktop and mobile content
- Check your image quality
- Match up image URLs
- Use schema markup for videos
More details about these Google-specific considerations can be found here.
It’s also important to ensure a good experience is provided for mobile users, with a responsive layout, excellent website speed, mobile-optimised navigation, and easily clickable buttons and callouts. Many SEO practitioners have been preparing these elements for the Core Web Vitals component of the upcoming Page Experience update.
It’s also critical however, not overlook the importance of developing a site to optimise these core mobile elements (rather than also desktop versions of those), as they will soon be all that Google is using to ingest the web:
Mobile HTML – The raw HTML version of how a page is delivered from the server to a mobile device
This change by Google to mobile only indexing is likely to result in the largest changes to SEO in 2021 so it’s critical that websites are developed accordingly, as businesses that have done so are likely to reap the rewards in the rankings.
If you want to know more about how we can assist with the mobile only indexing of your website, please get in touch.