What is Google's Mobile-First Indexing (Explained)

What is Google's Mobile-First Indexing (Explained)

Google has been promoting website owners and Search Engine Optimizations to adapt to mobile-first indexing for the past decade. Back in 2015, Google was promoting a mobile-friendly tag and Mobilegeddon. Recently they have come up with a new move mobile-first indexing.

They have been experimenting their mobile-first indexing for the past few weeks. From March 2021, Google has told that they would use Mobile-first indexing for all your websites. This was originally supposed to be in September 2020, but they pushed it later on.

What is Mobile-First Indexing?
How does Mobile-First Indexing Work?
How to develop a Mobile Site?
What will be Impacted by Mobile-First Indexing?
Content parity between Mobile and Desktop

What is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile-first indexing means mobile only. It means that Google will use its bots that are mobile-friendly to index and crawl through your website. Google’s current guidelines suggest that they do a content-parity test in the beginning and only then they would move the websites to mobile-first. This happens only when they recognize that the websites are ready.

How does Mobile-First Indexing Work?

Google has plans to implement Mobile-First Indexing from March 2021, even though your website is not ready for it. If you are posting something on your website that is visible only for desktop users and not visible for mobile users, then it will be invisible for Google’s Mobile-First indexing purposes as well.

For example, if your website posts contents about Nutrition. let’s say fitness and the post is visible only for a desktop user, and for some reason it is not visible to mobile users. Then, From March 2021 all your fitness-related content will not be indexed by Google.

Which means that you will lose your ranking for fitness related keywords. This will lead to the diminishing of the Google’s understanding of the whole page, which in turn leads to knock-on effects on your other keywords as well.

Mobile-only makes it much clear that your content will be indexed and ranked by Google only and only if it is visible through your mobile device.

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How to develop a Mobile Site?

There are essentially 3 different ways to have a mobile site.

Responsive Design –

This is the most common way through which a mobile site is developed. Here you will serve a single page that will automatically respond to the design to fit the device of the user. In this design, the code used is the same irrespective of the device whether it is a mobile or desktop.

Dynamic Serving –

In this method, the server checks the device used by the user who has logged in to your website whether the person is using a mobile, tablet, or a desktop. Later it would send out different HTML, Java, and JS code on the same URL according to the user’s device.

Separate Mobile Site –

This is an older way to do it. Here you will have to maintain a separate website only for mobile users. It is often maintained on an m-dot subdomain.

What will be Impacted by Mobile-First Indexing?

The main consideration that google looks for is, whether the mobile and desktop contents are the same. To be specific it considers the contents which would have an impact upon indexing, ranking, and crawling.

It includes internal links, On page contents, Titles, and descriptions, Robots.txt, Page resources, Meta robots, Canonicals, Hreflang, and structured data. In short, it would look at the contents for the users as well as contents that will act as signals for the search engines.

You can also check if your website is mobile friendly or not. As Google offers a website where you can test your website to see if it is mobile friendly or not.

google mobile-first indexing
Google Mobile-friendly Test

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Content parity between Mobile and Desktop

When you look at the term mobile-first, the reference content parity does not necessarily mean, all the content must be exactly the same in both mobile as well as desktop. You just have to ensure that the bits that are important for your website visitors and the search engines should be visible.

It can be differentiated into Two different categories.


If you have content on your website which you want your users to see, then you will have to make sure that it is also visible on the mobile website page.


If you have HTML tags that you want the search engines to see then ensure that the tags are present in the mobile rendered HTML.

These are the two broad categories that you should ensure for content parity between mobile and desktop.


What happens during Google indexing process?

Google analyzes the content of the page, catalogs images and video files embedded on the page, and tries to understand the page.

What are the tools of SEO?

Ahrefs, Google Search Console, SEMRush, Moz Pro, Ubersuggest are the some of the best tools of SEO.

How long does it take for Google to index a site?

It seems to take as little as 4 days and up to 6 months for a site to be crawled by Google.


Some of you would have received a notification in Google Search Console long back about the shift to mobile-first indexing of your website. John Mueller has said that we essentially need to be sure that the mobile version when indexed with mobile should be similar to the desktop version. So that we will be able to shift it without any problems.

Google is planning to implement this mobile-First indexing to every single website in the world.

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