It’s just almost a year when Google first shared to the public their initiative in putting mobile first in their indexing. They said that they would first search the web first from a mobile point of view. It seems now that google has commenced indexing sites from a mobile point of view, but a limited basis as of now.
This was somehow confirmed by John Mueller from Google in a webmaster hangout. “It’s possible that for individual sites we were kind of already indexing the mobile version but it’s probably like a really small number,” John said. John Mueller added “ I wouldn’t see that as saying like we’ve started with this but it’s more kind of still in the experimental stage.”
But over the past days, many tools and webmasters have noticed major shifts in mobile ranking in Google. As far as we know, Google is planning to release this slowly and by batches so that search results won’t shuffle and mix too much.
People who don’t have a mobile website don’t need to worry though. Yes, Google wants you to have a mobile site but it will instead crawl your desktop version instead if you have one. Google said, “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.” If you have a mobile site, then just make sure that your content and links found on your mobile site is consistent with the desktop version of your site so Google can look for the proper content and rank it just like your desktop site.
However, the content hidden in tabs, accordions, expandable boxes and other methods won’t be counted as high. The idea is that expandable content makes sense on mobile and not so much on desktop.
Don’t fret however as both Gary Illyes and Paul Haahr of Google ensured everybody that this won’t make a major change in the overall rankings. In fact, they just aim minimal or zero change in ranking with this transformation. It’s still too early to tell, in fact, but their aim is not to have a great impact over the current rankings.
In order for you to know if Google can crawl into your mobile optimized pages, you can use tools such as Fetch and Render that is publicly available in the Google Search Console. Be specific of the mobile:smartphone user agent and observe the preview after the fetch and render is complete. What Google shows you in the rendered results is likely what Google can see and index from your mobile site. If content is missing, then you should look into how to fix that and run the tool again.
Before, google ranks your mobile sites based on traffic gathered from your desktop site. But it’s now going to reverse as Google will now rank your mobile and desktop sites based on the data gathered from crawling your site from a mobile point of view. Page loading speeds of your mobile optimized site would determine your mobile and desktop site’s ranking in Google. Google will also likely look at your title, H1s, structured data and other tags and content generated from your mobile site, and use them over your desktop site.
For now, you shouldn’t be able to see some of the change and impact of their mobile first initiative as it is not still fully released. But Google hopes of a little to no impact when it is fully rolled out. This a global release so no regions would be exempted.
To conclude, webmasters and website owners must be fully aware of this and so, you should update your websites and embrace the trend of having a mobile-optimized version.
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