Starting July 1, all new sites will be indexed using Google’s mobile-first indexing

Google has announced that all new websites “previously unknown to Google Search” will be indexed using mobile-first indexing starting on July 1. Older web sites that are still not being indexed using mobile-first indexing will not be switched yet to mobile-first indexing on July 1st but be moved when those web sites are ready to be moved to mobile-first indexing.

Google’s statement. Google wrote “mobile-first indexing will be enabled by default for all new, previously unknown to Google Search, websites starting July 1, 2019. It’s fantastic to see that new websites are now generally showing users – and search engines – the same content on both mobile and desktop devices.”

Only new sites. To be clear, only brand new sites Google is not yet aware of, will be indexed using mobile-first indexing by default. Other sites that have already moved over to mobile-first indexing will also continue to be indexed using mobile-first indexing. But older sites not yet migrated will continue to be indexed the old-fashion way, desktop-first indexing, until those sites are ready.

“For older websites, we’ll continue monitoring and evaluating pages for their readiness for mobile first indexing, and will notify them through Search Console once they’re seen as being ready,” the company said.

No notifications. Unlike old web sites that get notifications when they are moved over, Google won’t send notifications to new web sites because that will be the default state. “Since the default state for new websites will be mobile-first indexing, there’s no need to send a notification,” Google said.

What is mobile-first indexing? Mobile-first indexing is simply how Google crawls and indexes the web. Instead of looking at the desktop version of the page, Google looks at the mobile version of the page. In more simple terms, Google is crawling and indexing your web page based on how it renders on a mobile phone versus a desktop computer. Now over 50% of what Google indexes is indexed over mobile-first indexing.

Where can I learn more? We have many stories and articles about mobile-first indexing on this site. Here are some of the more important stories:

You can also learn more from this Google help document and more articles on this site.

More advice. Google will typically notify you when your site has moved to mobile-first indexing within Google Search Console. So make sure to check your messages in the Google Search Console. Google will also label your site as last crawled by the Googlebot smartphone useragent in the URL inspection tool as another signal that your site has moved over.

Google says you should pay attention to your structured data and alt-text for images on mobile pages with this change.

Why we should care. If you launch a new website that doesn’t work well in mobile, then you may have issues with indexing and ranking in Google. Make sure to test your site and build them in a mobile-first manner. For more details see the Google blog post or our content above.


About The Author

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Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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