Google is coming with a new mobile-first index. This simply means that even for the listings that are shown to the mobile users, Google will now create and rank search listings based on the mobile content. Refer to the set of Q&A to get an idea of its functioning:
What’s gonna change with the mobile-first index?
Google wants the results to represent the majority of users (mobile searchers). Mobile version is being used as the primary search engine index by Google. Search engine index refers to a collection of documents or pages that are discovered by a search engine through crawling the web. Google will now crawl the web from a mobile user point of view instead of a desktop user.
What will happen if I do not have a mobile website?
Google said: “If you only have a desktop site, then we’ll continue to index the same, even if we’re using a mobile user agent.”
With your mobile site, you need to ensure that the links and content are similar to the desktop version so that no mismatch can happen while crawling your mobile site.
What if my mobile site has less content in comparison to my desktop site?
Google recommends a responsive approach i.e. the content; page-by-page is same as the desktop version.
What about the expandable content?
Expendable content makes a lot sense when it comes to mobile site. In case of mobile site, content hidden in tabs will be given full weightage if only it is meant for user experience.
Will this have an impact on the Google rankings?
This should have a minimal change on the overall rankings. The overall goal is not to impact the current rankings.
When is it expected to roll out?
The testing has already begun but, Google says it will still take some months for a full roll out. If things don’t turn out as expected, they may even push it back.
Can this be called a mobile-friendly ranking boost?
Google has always said that the content which is not mobile friendly will not rank properly. The case remains the same with this new index.
How do I ensure that Google sees my mobile pages?
Using Fetch and Render tool in the Google Search Console are the best way to do that. Take a look at the preview, what google shows you, is what it is able to see and index from your mobile site.
How about the Ranking Signals?
There will be a flip. Google will rank your desktop and mobile site based on the signals received from crawling the mobile view.
Will there be different indexes for desktop and mobile?
For now, Google plans to have a single index based on mobile content which will serve listings for desktop and mobile users.
Will you need to change the Canonicals?
No, Google says, just keep the tags as it is and follow the recommendations.
Can the change or impact in the search results be seen now?
Google said that the change will not be seen at this stage. It also won’t hit some specific regions since it is a global roll out.
So, this was a quick and short compilation of the key questions about the Mobile First Index.