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Today, with the continued proliferation of mobile phones as the default transactional devices, Google is perhaps doing the the right thing. The search giant has just announced that mobile-first indexing will now be the default for all new websites.
In simple terms, mobile-first indexing means that when a website is created and made publicly online, Google will be using its smartphone Googlebot to crawl the website. The website’s mobile-friendly content will be used as its index page. In addition, the mobile structure will also be used to analyze the site’s data and used for showing snippets from the site in Google search results.
Perhaps unknown to many, Google has started this initiative as early as 2016 and came into fruition in 2017 when it started to roll out mobile-first indexing to a few sites. Earlier in March this year, Google rolled out mobile-indexing on a broader scale and is expected to cover half of the websites on the web by year end.
In this day and age, it is not surprising for Google to shift its focus on contents from a mobile perspective. After all, the majority of search engine users are conducting their searches using mobile devices. Hence, search results should also prioritize displaying the mobile-enabled versions of any website.
In addition to mobile-first indexing, Google has also started boosting the rank of mobile-friendly webpages when displaying them in search results. In fact, last year, it included page speed as one of the determinants of a page’s mobile search ranking. Mobile-enabled websites normally load faster than traditional websites.
To aid website owners who have not made their sites mobile-first friendly, Google is offering a plethora of documentation on how to make websites compatible with mobile-first indexing. Website owners should check this documentation to ensure that their websites are crawled by the smartphone Googlebot.
In its announcement today, Google emphasized how the web has evolved from being desktop-first to something that is mobile-friendly and easily indexable by mobile user-agents.