mobile first

Google Prefers Mobile First

What we know so far about Google's 'Mobile First' take on the web: Google rolled out a process of mobile-first indexing to a larger number of sites. The rollout was only for sites that follow what Google described as the best practices for mobile first-first indexing.

This was the first time Google confirmed that it would moving more sites to the mobile-first indexing process. Earlier than that, Google had announced that a select number of sites had already been moved over.

At the time, Google also said that it would use the Google Search Console to let webmasters and site owners know that their sites had been migrated to the mobile-first indexing process.

A Brief Rundown of Mobile-First Indexing

The information Google gave at the time was that it was about how Google crawls a site. Despite Google only having one index, it crawls and creates the index based based on a mobile-first experience.

A statement Google wrote at the time said that their ranking systems had always used the desktop versions of pages’ content. Google further said that this caused issues for mobile searches because the desktop versions differed vastly from the mobile versions.

Google said that they were making the change because most of their users were using their phones or tablets to surf the web, making it necessary and convenient for them to get the mobile versions of sites.

Google said that those without a mobile site would not be affected. Google would continue to index the desktop version of the site, despite the fact that a mobile user agent would be used to view the site.

For sites with mobile sites that have less content than the desktop sites, however, Google said there would potentially be an issue. The user agent would view, for example, page A of the desktop version and page A of the mobile version. If the desktop version had more content, Google would most likely see the mobile version with less content.

Speaking on the matter, Google mentioned how the change was going to affect expandable content. Content hidden in accordions, tabs and expandable boxes would not weighted highly. Gary Illyes from Google said when the change was being rolled out that when it came to mobile, content of this type would be given full weight if the content was contracted for user purposes.

There was concern when the change was rolled out that maybe it would affect search rankings. Commenting on this, Paul Haahr and Gary Illyes from Google said that there would be no change in the overall rankings. They added that any change at all would be minimal.

For those who wondered how this would affect canonical, Google said they would not need to be changed. Google added that leaving canonical tags as they were was just fine. They also urged webmasters and site owners to follow recommendations they laid out in a blog post.

The mobile-first indexing process was essentially Google acknowledging that many of their users are on mobile and, as such, they wanted to provide them with rankings that are relevant to the mobile experience.