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Everything You Need to Know About Mobile-First Indexing

Written by The Magna Technology Team on February 5, 2019

Google is working toward indexing web pages based on the mobile version of their websites. Before mobile-first indexing, Google used the desktop version of websites. Since the majority of users access Google through a mobile device, Google feels that the best way to index and rank pages is based on their mobile version. Google is not creating a separate index – only one index is being used, and it’s mobile-first.

When Will All Sites be Migrated?

Migrating sites to mobile-first is expected to take years in order to ensure a good experience for site owners and web users. Each site is evaluated on an individual basis and then transitioned when ready.

You should get the notice that your site is being migrated through Google Search Console. So far, sites that have been migrated shouldn’t see much change in rankings. These sites have been chosen to migrate first based on their mobile-friendliness.

If you haven’t migrated yet, there is no need to worry. Use this time as an opportunity to improve your website. It’s possible that you haven’t migrated yet because Google thinks your website needs more work.

How to Prepare for Mobile-First Indexing

As you prepare for having all websites indexed and ranked by mobile-first, here are the best steps you can take.

  • Choose a mobile-friendly design. Your site should be responsive and “designed for the finger.” Avoid using Flash and get rid of annoying pop-ups.
  • Serve the same content. The same content should be available on both your desktop and mobile sites – only the format should be updated.
  • Make speed a priority. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, you may need to add more server capacity. Also, try minimizing redirects, optimizing CSS and JS files, leveraging browser caching and compressing images.
  • Don’t block CSS and JS files. Google needs to access these files to check if your website works properly. Make sure CSS and JS files are not blocked.
  • Optimize on-page SEO. Continue practicing smart on-page optimization efforts, such as editing metadata, fixing 404 redirects, adding keywords to your content and generating XML and HTML sitemaps.

Google will continue migrating sites to mobile-first throughout 2019. If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, Google will use your desktop version without penalty – for now. In time, this will probably change.

Is your site ready for mobile-first indexing? Contact Magna Technology for a site review and to learn what changes can be made for an effortless transition.

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