Google mobile-first indexing

Back in July, I published a note discussing how Google indexes and ranks your website. Here’s an important addition to that information.

When I develop a new website for a client, I also set up a (free) Google Search Console account linked to the new website. This alerts Google that there is a new website to be indexed for its search, and then Google alerts me whenever there are issues with the website, or to inform me of ways to improve a website‘s rankings.

In the last couple of months, I started receiving dozens of emails from Google with subject lines similar to this one:

Mobile-first indexing enabled for

Below is a direct quote from one of those emails, so that you can have Google‘s word on the matter.

Mobile-first indexing enabled

Mobile-first indexing means that Googlebot will now use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking, to better help our (primarily mobile) users find what they’re looking for. Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have historically used the desktop version of your site’s content, which can cause issues for mobile searchers when the desktop version differs from the mobile version.

To reiterate, Google is now prioritizing the mobile version of your website, rather than the desktop version, when developing its ranking. This makes the issue of responsiveness even more critical for your website.