It's now official, in March Google announced it will switch the crawling of all web pages to mobile-first indexing from September 2020.
What is the mobile-first index anyway?
Normally a website is designed for desktops, that is, the functionalities, designs etc. are designed for larger screens and fast data connections. The mobile version of a website is usually only planned in the second step. In terms of mobile-first, the priority is set differently, which makes Google now the standard for indexing or finding websites. The Googlebot, Google's search engine crawler, is converted to a mobile crawler and therefore also the indexing.
Previous development of the mobile-first index
Since more search queries are now made via the smartphone than via the desktop, Google has been migrating its entire search engine infrastructure and technology to the mobile-first index since 2016. This means that Google looks at websites like a smartphone user. If, in this view, users do not have the same options as desktop users, this content will (in the future) no longer be visible to Google and will not end up in the Google index.
First of July, 2019, the index was activated by default for new websites (new websites or websites previously unknown to Google search). For older and existing websites Google will review and evaluate them against the Best Practice Guide and notify website owners via the Google Search Console of the date on which their website was switched to the mobile-first index. According to Google, around 70 percent of all websites have already been automatically converted to the mobile-first index. This means that 30 percent - i.e. several million websites - are not yet ready for this.
Tips for switching to the mobile-first index
So what must be done to make the website mobile fit? The first step is to check in the Search Console to see if the website has been converted automatically. This tool can also be used to check whether the site is optimised for mobile devices. If this is not the case, here are some tips:
1. Responsive design
There should only be one version of the website and one URL that works for mobile and desktop, so users of a website can use it without any problems, regardless of the device they are using. The design can be flexibly adapted to the size and characteristics of the calling device. If you need help to create a website in Responsive Design / UX Design, please contact us, we are happy to help! Simply contact us here!
2. Structured data / content equality
The data or the desktop and mobile version of the website must have the same content and data. Google does not want to send its users to a website only to find that the content they visit is available on the desktop version but not on the mobile version.
Google also provides a best practice document where everything can be read again.
There are still about six months left until Google switches completely to the mobile-first index. Use the time - we will help you! Fill out the contact form and we will get back to you!