Google’s Great Migration to Mobile-First Indexing

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Google’s Great Migration to Mobile-First Indexing

Since June 2017, Google has been talking about the migration to mobile-first indexing, and last month the search behemoth announced that their mobile-first indexing was rolling out. Check our guide to what it entails and what it means for your business!



In 2017, 57% of all online traffic came from mobile and tablet devices, highlighting the significance of Google’s recent decision to move to a mobile-first index. The user experience of the mobile searcher has become increasingly important, so website owners need to pay more attention than ever to their mobile site.

After a year and a half of testing and experimentation, Google has finally announced that their migration to mobile-first indexing, favouring mobile-friendly sites when indexing and ranking. Previously, desktop versions of sites have been used for crawling, indexing and ranking systems which have led to issues for the increasing number of mobile searchers when the mobile version is very different to the desktop version of the site.


What is Mobile-First Indexing & how will it affect your business?

Google uses one single index to return search results, rather than one for mobile-first index and a separate one for the desktop index. Historically, the desktop version of a site has been indexed, however, Google’s decision to migrate means that the mobile versions of content will increasingly be indexed and ranked instead.

Sites will be notified about the migration via Google Search Console, and consequently, site owners will see an increased crawl rate from the smartphone Googlebot. The mobile version of pages will also start to show in the SERP and Google cached pages.

Google tells us that websites that are using responsive web design or dynamic serving are mostly prepared for mobile-first indexing. For the sites that have AMP and non-AMP pages, the Google SERP will favour the mobile version of the non-AMP page to index. If your site is not in this initial segment, however, it is worth noting that mobile-first indexing is more about how content is gathered, rather than how content is ranked.

For example, content that is gathered by mobile-first indexing does not have a ranking advantage over mobile content not gathered in this way or desktop content. In addition, desktop content will continue to be represented in the SERP index. Nevertheless, Google continues to emphasise that sites would be benefited by incorporating mobile-friendly content.

We spoke to Josh Jackson, Lead Designer at eJIGSAW, to find out how he thinks design can contribute to the successful migration to mobile-first indexing.

Lead Designer at eJIGSAW, Josh Jackson:

“At eJIGSAW we work hard to ensure our sites are equally as engaging and easy to use on mobile as their desktop counterparts. We provide our clients with mobile as well as desktop designs; in doing this we hope to communicate the importance of a mobile-first strategy, and our commitment to ensuring our websites are as future proof as possible.”

If you want some advice on how to get your site mobile-friendly, get in touch with us here at eJIGSAW® and one of our digital experts will be on hand to help you through the Great Migration to mobile-first indexing!

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