Google’s Mobile-First Indexing And What You Need To Know

Mobile-First Indexing has been on Google’s agenda since 2016 and its staged implementation has seen all new websites fall under the new indexation from July last year and the complete migration of legacy sites by September 2020 . 

Google’s move to using the mobile version of a website for indexing instead of the desktop version isn’t really a surprise considering mobile usage has been on the increase year on year. According to Statista recent statistics indicate that:

  • 60% of Google searches are done on a mobile. 
  • 65% of Google Ad clicks are from mobile devices.

The Rise In Mobile Usage

Mobile phones have become an integral feature of most peoples’ lives and are the main go-to choice of device for browsing the internet. Their popularity is no doubt due to the increased sophistication of software, their convenience, plus they are personal and intuitive, which makes a mobile extremely user friendly. Google’s move towards mobile-first for indexing instead of using the desktop version of a website reflects this change in browsing habits. This change in direction has led to the new indexing system being rolled out over the past 4 years.

Has Your Website Been Switched?

You can’t opt-in or opt-out of mobile-first indexing, your site will be switched in accordance with Google’s rollout and website readiness so unfortunately, you have no control over this. At this late stage of the implementation it is most likely your site has been migrated however Google will determine readiness based on their algorithmic criteria which takes into consideration website aspects such as, videos, links, text, structured data and metadata.

If you are unsure if your website has been switched go to Google’s Search Console a message will appear like the one below, informing you of the date it was migrated. This was the message we received for our website, bearing in mind migration is still being rolled out for legacy sites, ours was one of the early ones.

Mobile-First Indexing Migration Notification

What Should I do About Mobile-First Indexing?

Google Best Practices and Preparing Your Site

Making sure you fulfill Googlebot criteria will help counteract a ranking dip that some legacy websites have experienced when migrated. This shouldn’t happen if your mobile site is exactly the same as your desktop version and Google can crawl it easily.  This dip is likely to happen if your current mobile site doesn’t have best practice factors in place. These help identify what your pages are about and provide the bot with the information it needs in order to provide an index of your site.  Don’t be overly concerned, you will be informed by Google of any indexing issues, however it’s best to sort out the problems before you get a notice. 

 To help you out, here are some of Google’s recommendations:   

  • Mobile sites should have the same content as the desktop. Serving less content on a mobile version may lead to a drop in traffic because Google can’t gain as much information from the page. 
  • Headings on the mobile should be the same as the desktop. 
  • Structured data and metadata should be the same on both sites.
  • Make sure image URLs are the same on both devices
  • Videos – don’t use URLs that change every time it loads
  • Content that doesn’t load until and action is made such as a click or swipe will not be indexed. These need to be ungated.

A Few Common Questions About Mobile-First Indexing

Is it the same as mobile usability?

 Mobile-first indexing and mobile usability are not the same and quite different. Mobile usability, friendliness and responsive layouts are not a prerequisite for mobile-first indexing.  Mobile-first indexes pages based on the content that is provided on a mobile device, in order to understand your site and how it’s structured. It’s not concerned with for example whether the text is too small, or clickable elements are too close, it’s more about page and ultimately site identification.

What if I don’t have a mobile version of my website?

If you don’t have a mobile version then Google will still index your site but there may be a drop in search ranking because mobile-friendly sites will be given preference. This does seem a little harsh however looking at it from Google’s perspective, they perceive from online usage data that the best user experience will be from a mobile device. Their algorithm and crawler are therefore set up for mobile not desktop. With this in mind, the best way to ensure effective indexation is to create a mobile version of your website.

If you would like to know more about how to improve your website for search, mobile indexing or have any other optimisation questions you would like to ask then please get in touch, our contact details are here 


Business Productivity and the Cloud

High Speed Broadband is now an integral part of the UK’s push to become a leading knowledge economy, how could your business benefit from the use of high speed broadband and Cloud computing?


So what do we mean by the Cloud?


In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. Examples of this may be Google Drive, Microsoft 365 or Apple I Cloud.


In the UK Broadband Study of 2013 improved productivity was one of the areas outlined as one which could help business. How could cloud computing help make your staff more productive? The UK Broadband study found that nationally a 2% reduction in commuting  would lead to a reduction of some 2.3 billion kilometers per annum this in turn would make essential journeys quicker and more productive.


Do you need to attend every meeting in person? Using webinar and meeting tools could see a 9% reduction in business travel reducing business mileage by 5.3 billion kms per annum.

Above we have provided you with just a few interesting statistics as to the beneficial effects of using Cloud there are many others, so let’s summarize the main benefits:


You can work from anywhere as long as you have access to the internet , which for example can be through your phone, tablet ,computer or Chrome Book and is what we ‘call off premises IT.’   Telecommuting means that your office can be anywhere you want it to be!

Enables real time information and shared access.

You can work with others on a document at the same time.  You can even see what the other person is doing as it happens. There is no longer the need to keep passing information backwards and forwards.

Low cost

There is normally no initial start up cost and the majority are pay as you go.  There is also no need to invest in expensive in-house servers and software, all is provided for by the service provider

Suppliers responsible for the infrastructure

Management such as security and updates are provided for at no extra cost by the suppliers who invest heavily in an experienced and knowledgeable workforce, in order to enable them to be key players in what is a growing competitive market. For example if you are using Google Apps everything is provided by Google and hosted on their powerful and secure servers.

Disaster management and protection of data

If  in the case for example of a fire, flood or theft, data will not be lost and still accessible.  Therefore causing less disruption to business and the peace of mind in knowing that data will be safe.  Cloud also eliminates the need to have to back up files or download to a server.

Let us know how Cloud computing has impacted on your business?

In such a complex area it is always good to know an expert we would suggest Phil Oakley at Outserve

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Philip Oakley - a specialist in productivity and the cloud

Philip Oakley – Cloud Computing Expert

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