This week saw webmasters across the world receiving notifications through their Google Search Console linked emails that their website is now part of the mobile-first index.
The mobile-first index is essentially a change in the way Google creates and orders its search listings. Up until recently where a mobile website and desktop website have existed for the same domain Google has used the desktop version to determine where it and the mobile version should rank in the search results. Now however, with more and more internet sessions happening on a mobile device, Google has decided to use the mobile version of a website to determine where it and the desktop site should rank.
The mobile-first index was announced back in 2016 and the first wave of sites were reportedly moved to this new index in late 2017/early 2018. However, this is the first time that website owners have been notified if their website has been moved across.
There has been some industry chatter around the type of websites that have been moved across with many assuming Google’s claim that websites would only be moved across if they were ready for the new index meaning mobile-friendly websites would be the first to move. Many have claimed, how do I put this politely… that the websites they have received notifications for are not their primary sites and definitely not ones they have been spending time optimising for mobile experience.
Google’s John Mueller recently clarified in a Google Webmaster Hangout
“It's not related to whether or not a site is mobile-friendly. It's really just the indexing part that's switching over to mobile and the friendliness aspect is something that's still a ranking factor in the mobile search results but it's independent of their indexing,".
So, keep an eye out for notifications from Google arriving by email but also don’t forget to log in to Google Search Console to see if you have a notification there.
If you’re unsure whether you have Google Search Console enabled for your website then give us a call and we can help you set it up.