5 Ways To Prepare for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

By Anne Hareid, Digital Media Specialist

Published: November 2, 2020

Hey Google, Is Mobile-First Indexing Finally Happening?

“Yes, it’s scheduled to finally happen in March 2021.”

Are you ready for the switch? It’s been four years since Google started the mobile-first indexing process. This means Google’s algorithms will start looking at the mobile version of all websites to rank their pages instead of desktop versions. While Google already indexes all of the new and most currently crawled websites using mobile-first indexing by default, some websites have not been migrated over yet. Here’s a list of issues Google recommends fixing to prepare for this change:

How To Prepare for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

1. Check Your Content

Make sure your content is the same on both desktop and mobile versions of your website. Whatever is shown on the mobile version is what will be ranked and indexed when Google goes 100% into mobile-first indexing.

2. Check Your Images and Videos

Follow best practices for images and videos. This includes image quality, meaningful alt attributes and placement. If your media are too small, too vague in description, or too hard to find on the mobile-version of your website, Google may not be able to rank them in search.

3. Watch What URLs You Block

If you have different URLs on desktop and mobile you’ll want to check and confirm they’re all being crawled with your robots.txt file. Otherwise, Googlebot may not be able to render some of your pages correctly, which could hurt your ranking.

4. Avoid Lazy Loading Your Primary Content Based on User Interactions

If you want Googlebot to see all of your content, make sure it loads when it’s visible in the viewport and not when a user interacts with the website. An example is when someone clicks a button to reveal more images. Google will not be able to see those images because they’re hidden away.

5. Use the Same Robots Meta Tags on Desktop and Mobile

If the robots meta tags are not the same on both versions, Googlebot may not be able to index some of your pages when it switches to mobile-first indexing.

Here are a few other mobile-first indexing recommendations, like responsible web design, that Google has for the big move if you want to get a head start!

Need help with preparing your website for this change? Let’s chat!