- Mobile-first indexing means Google nowprioritizes mobile versions of sites when crawling and indexing.
- The change reflects Google’s growing focus on mobile users in recent years.
- With the switch complete, Google will reduce desktop crawling to conserve resources.
After years in the making, Google has fully transitioned to mobile-first indexing, the search engine giant announced Tuesday. This means Google prioritizes mobile versions when crawling pages and indexing content.
The shift reflects Google’s increased focus on mobile devices that began in 2015. At the time, Google updated its search algorithm to favor “mobile-friendly” sites.
The following year, the company started the process of mobile-first indexing by crawling mobile pages rather than desktop.
Google celebrates this milestone in an announcement:
“Over the years, mobile web traffic has continued to grow; in some regions, people almost exclusively use their phone to access the internet. Thank you – site owners, SEOs, web developers, designers, and everyone who works on websites – for helping to make the mobile web a success!”
Crawling Mobile Provides Better User Experience
The shift to mobile-first indexing has been a gradual process, with Google responding to the growing prevalence of mobile devices in global internet usage.
In 2016, Google embarked on this transformative journey by prioritizing the crawling of mobile website versions over their desktop counterparts.
This change was driven by a fundamental objective: to offer users the most accurate representation of what they would see when conducting searches on their mobile devices.
With mobile now surpassing desktop in global internet usage, Google’s shift to crawling mobile versions takes center stage. It ensures that users receive the most precise and user-friendly experience when searching on their phones, aligning with the growing trend of mobile web access.
Challenges in the Transition: Handling Desktop-Only Sites
It’s essential to acknowledge that not all websites seamlessly transition to mobile-friendly designs. Google acknowledges this challenge and has opted to continue crawling the desktop versions of such sites.
Additionally, Google has made the strategic decision to reduce the crawling of desktop pages as part of resource management efforts.
Streamlining the Search Console: Adapting to the Transition
Google’s successful transition to mobile-first indexing also necessitates changes to its Search Console, a webmaster tool.
The removal of indexing crawler data from Search Console is a direct outcome of this transition.
As fully functional sites are now predominantly crawled via their mobile versions, this data becomes superfluous.
A New Era: Mobile as the Primary Gateway
The transition to mobile-first indexing signifies a significant milestone in Google’s continuous evolution. It underscores the pervasive role of mobile devices in shaping global internet usage and reaffirms Google’s unwavering commitment to optimizing the online experience for mobile users.
With the rollout finished, Google has fully embraced mobile as the primary way users access the web.
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