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Google Extends Mobile-First Indexing Deadline

22nd July 2020 | | Web design

On July 21st 2020 Google Webmasters blog announced that Google will pushing back the deadline for web-wide mobile first indexing. This is most likely due to delays caused by COVID-19 and Google providing more time for businesses to prepare and execute their strategies (if currently not compliant). As mentioned before in this blog, the timeline of Mobile-first indexing has been a long time coming. With this new announcement this is the new date of deployement:

  • November 4th, 2016 – First testing of altering the Google Index to be mobile-first.
  • December 18th, 2017 – Google begins evaluating sites for readiness and cautiously rolls out mobile-first indexing to small group of websites.
  • December 19th, 2018 – Site owners notified via Search Console when their site is moved to mobile-first indexing. Told to prepare structured data and alt-attributes consistency if using mobile version of domain.
  • March 26th, 2018 – Algorithm update is rolled out more broadly.
  • May 28th, 2019 – Mobile-first indexing is enabled by default for all new, previously unknown to Google, websites starting July 1st, 2019. Older sites are still being evaluated and changed to new indexing if deemed ready.
  • March 4th, 2020 – Mobile-first indexing will be enabled for all websites starting September 2020.
  • July 21st, 2020 – Google delay announcement
  • March 2021 – Mobile-first Indexing comes into place

Important considerations for Mobile-First Indexing

Along with the items mentioned in this previous blog, additional testing from Google have prompted them with more worthy mentions to consider with the upcoming algorithm change. These tips will better prepare your site for the update to ensure you’re not slipping down visibility:

  • Make sure Googlebot can see your content – From March Googlebot will only gather information that is seen from the mobile version of your website. Ensure Googlebot can successfully crawl and gather a good user experience from your website.
  • Make sure primary content is the same on desktop & mobile – With responsiveness there may be certain content that does not show for design reasons. It’s important to amend this so your valuable content that is helping you rank can still be seen on a mobile view. For example, ensuring your main h1 tag shows both on desktop and mobile, if it doesn’t show on mobile then you may lose traffic after March.
  • Check Images and Videos – Make sure that images and videos are optimised for mobile, not being too small or large and of good quality.

If your website is not optimised for mobile-first indexing, or hasn’t been updated since 2017 then it’s highly recommended to consider your action plan before March 2021. If you’re looking for guidance then feel free to have a no-obligation chat with our website consultant or call on 01202 677 277, we’ll be more than happy to steer you in the right direction.

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