Search giant Google has announced that it will be further delaying the rollout of mobile-first indexing across all sites.
Earlier in the year, Google had announced that all sites would be automatically switched to mobile-first indexing by September. However, as the coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe, enforcing governments to impose lockdowns and workforces to operate from home, Google has now decided to delay this deadline until March 2021.
The announcement was made on Tuesday via the Google Webmaster Central Blog. In this statement, the company explained that during these uncertain times, it is not easy to focus on work as normal and it will therefore be pushing back the deadline.
Google first announced that it would be moving towards mobile-first indexing back in 2016 and since then, it has been working up to this point. The company, as well as site owners around the world, have had plenty of time to prepare for this change, so it should not be a shock to anyone that it is on the verge of being implemented.
The majority of sites have already switched to enable mobile-first indexing and this is also the default for all new websites. In March, when the September deadline was initially announced, Google stated that 70% of sites showing in the search results had already made the change. In preparation for the original deadline, this number has more than likely risen. Site owners can check in Search Console whether or not they have already made the switch.
For those still to make the change, Google documented within its announcement some issues that site owners should be looking into that may be holding up the site from automatically migrating to mobile-first. This includes Robots meta tags on mobile versions, ensuring content is the same on both mobile and desktop versions of the site, and checking images and videos.
The new March deadline will give site owners some additional time to get their sites ready for the switch to mobile-first indexing. If a site is not ready by the deadline, it could be adversely affected in terms of its rankings.
If your website needs help with this, or with improving its visibility within Google, then contact Engage Web.