Google has recently announced that starting in September 2020, they will be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites.
What is mobile-first indexing?
Since most people are using mobile devices when using Google Search, the ranking systems used by Google have still typically looked at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user, instead of the mobile version of the page. This can sometimes cause issues specific to when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because Google’s algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.
What will happen when Google switches?
When Google switches a domain to mobile-first indexing, it will see an increase in Googlebot’s crawling, while Google updates their index to your site’s mobile version. Depending on the domain, this change can take some time. Afterward, Google will still occasionally crawl with the traditional desktop Googlebot, but most crawling for Search will be done with their mobile smartphone user-agent.
What should you do now?
We recommend that you should take this time to go through the mobile version of your website. In particular, we recommend making sure that the content shown is the same (including text, images, videos, links), and that metadata (titles and descriptions, robots meta tags) and all structured data is the same between your desktop and mobile website. You can select the following link to the URL Testing Tools which allows you to easily check both desktop and mobile versions directly.
Google’s URL Inspection tool provides information about Google’s indexed version of a specific page including the following:
See the current index status of a URL:
Retrieve information about Google’s indexed version of your page. See why Google could or couldn’t index your page.
Inspect a live URL:
Test whether a page on your site is able to be indexed.
Request indexing for a URL:
You can request that an URL be crawled (or recrawled) by Google.
View a rendered version of the page:
See a screenshot of how Googlebot sees the page.