Mobile-first index Launch has been postponed by Google as it is still assessing it. As mobile users are increasing rapidly Google has planned to launch the mobile-first index to present their searches with a brand new and special mobile content of the website they are searching for in the first place and then to a desktop version if no mobile-first index was implemented for that site.
Currently, Googlebot crawls only the desktop index and retrieves the relevant search results to them, when a user submits a query. There are some issues with this single index type. One of the issues is the bad user experience which is due to lack of quality and relevant content in the mobile page while they are engaged from desktop version to mobile version of the website. The content which is present in the desktop version should be there in mobile version also and the user shouldn’t be taken to pages other than what they requested or clicked. Example: when they click a section that takes them to a pop-up screen or newsletter subscription page instead of taking them to the particular mobile version section of the web page.
To eliminate this kind of issues like irrelevant mobile content, mobile-index helps in several ways. Mobile-index will also help to rank a website for its relevancy in providing quality content to the users.
What do marketers need to know before the index change?
• Make sure that the same contents are present for both desktop and mobile version. If they are same there is no need to modify anything.
• Verify the mobile version of the website just like desktop version in the search console.
• Verify that the mobile version is accessible for Googlebot crawler.
• Make sure that your mobile page version is structured properly.
• Use rel =”canonical” in your desktop page and rel = ” annotations” in your mobile page so that Googlebot can easily discover the mobile page of your website.
This new change will not affect indexing of those sites which don’t have separate mobile pages as Google’s crawler will look into its desktop version in the absence of a mobile version and rank the website based on the mobile-first index. Even though it doesn’t affect the indexing it’s a good practice to create the desktop version generally with responsive layout and relevant content that matches with a mobile web page when a user views it from a mobile phone and to increase the user experience of the website.
Still, the mobile-first index is months away from its launch, so consider this as an opportunity to optimize your website that suits primarily for a mobile view and then for the desktop views. Those who already optimized and run a mobile version successfully keep your content clean and relevant so as to increase the rank in SERP.