It’s been over a year since Google first announced they’d be switching on mobile first indexing in search, but it’s finally going live.
Search is primarily mobile first for many users, and starting today Google has begun to use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking. Google notes that they’ve done this due to the desktop and mobile versions of pages often having ‘vastly different’ content.
Google isn’t going to maintain separate search indexes for mobile and desktop. Google said that they’ll increasingly be indexing the mobile version of sites over the desktop versions, but relevant searches are the primary goal. Google says phone optimised sites won’t have an advantage over sites that maintain a desktop-only version, if the content is relevant to your search it will appear higher in the search rankings.
Sites that are being migrated to mobile-first indexing are being notified in the Search Console that they will see ‘see significantly increased crawl rate from the Smartphone Googlebot’. Google says that mobile-first pages will be indexed over the AMP version of a page.
Google will be encouraging webmasters to make their content ‘mobile-friendly’, with changes coming into effect in July this year that ‘content that is slow-loading’ on desktop and mobile being ranked lower.