In 2015, for the first time, more searches were started on Google from a mobile device than on the desktop. This led Google to announce plans in 2016 to use the mobile version of a website’s content to classify pages and display “snippets” of that site.
The reason for which Google made this change was the fact that, although more users had started a search from a smartphone or tablet, many websites had more content in the desktop version of their site. This additional content was shown in the search results, but not in the mobile version of the site that the mobile version of Google Search would include in the results.
In December 2017, Google announced that, instead of ranking search results using desktop versions, mobile content should be given priority.
At the end of last year, half of the Web pages were indexed on this basis. And today, Google has announced that as of July 1st, indexing for mobile devices is enabled by default for new websites.
To clarify, a website is considered new if it is new on the Web or if it was previously unknown in Google Search. Other older or existing sites will be evaluated based on Google’s best practices. This means that mobile and desktop pages must have the same content, including text, images, and videos, structured data, and metadata.
No Changes on Desktop site
For those who only have one desktop site, there will be no changes. The contents of the desktop will be considered the mobile version. This is also the case if a site automatically adapts to the screen size. Sites with separate URLs for desktops and laptops will be indexed based on the application’s URL, which is Google’s preference.
So, what this means to you is that the information you see in a search result will be found on the mobile site that is linked to the result. This will lead to more relevant results. There is no first separate index for mobile devices, as Google pointed out in its version today and Google will continue to show the most appropriate URL for users, be it a desktop or mobile address.
The only change is that those on a mobile device are more likely to find the information that appears in a search result when they click on a link. After all, it’s frustrating to get a search result that points to a mobile version of a website that contains different or missing content that was seen in a Google search result.
“Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.”- Google
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