Search giant Google is in the process of sending out notices to site owners via its Search Console service, informing those that have mobile-first indexing issues that it expects all websites to make the switch within the next 6-12 months.
The company first announced that it would be switching to mobile-first indexing in November 2016, reflecting the fact that the majority of traffic online now comes from a mobile device. Furthermore, in December 2018, Google announced that more than half of all websites appearing in its search results were using mobile-first indexing.
Through mobile-first indexing means, Google’s spiders and algorithms will crawl websites from the eyes of mobile devices by default and use the mobile versions of websites for ranking and indexing purposes. This replaces crawling desktop and web versions by default.
Within the messages that Google has been sending to website owners, it has explained the issues that it has with a website when it comes to mobile-first indexing so that site owners can remedy these problems. Google also stated that it expected to apply mobile-first indexing to every site at some point in the next 6-12 months.
Kyle Sutton shared a screenshot of the message he received from Google via Twitter:
This month, GSC began alerting us to mobile-first indexation issues across our sites. In no uncertain terms: "Google expects to apply mobile-first indexing to all websites in the next six to twelve months." @rustybrick @jenstar pic.twitter.com/D6nTfClrTw
— Kyle Sutton (@KyleW_Sutton) February 26, 2020
In the message, Google explained that there were errors on one or more pages of the website when accessed by mobile crawlers. It highlighted that these errors would stop the page or images within the page from appearing within the search results once the transition to mobile-first indexing was completed.
Google is taking a proactive approach to this move and is notifying site owners that haven’t yet moved over to mobile-first indexing, giving specific advice on what needs to be done.
If you get one of these notices, it should be read and action should be taken sooner rather than later, as it could affect your website’s rankings within the search engines. If you have problems with acting on Google’s advice, get in touch with us at Engage Web and we’ll see how we can help.