The strategy of mobile-first indexing has been around for awhile and is gaining traction, but how much do you know and how prepared are you to navigate it? Mobile-first indexing is Google’s change in how they rank web content, preferring websites that are optimised for mobile users over those that are desktop-focused. This can mean the difference between being noticed and forgotten when it comes to SERP rankings. The good news is that with a few steps, you can make sure your website is compliant and take advantage of this shift in indexing strategy. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at exactly what mobile-first indexing is and the steps you need to take to prepare. At the end, you’ll have all the information you need to make sure your website is optimised for this new trend. Let’s get started!

Quick Explanation of Key Points

Mobile-first indexing is a method used by search engines to rank websites based on the way they are displayed and optimised for mobile devices. It prioritises mobile versions of websites over desktop versions, giving greater visibility to those optimised for mobile devices.

What is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile-first indexing is an algorithmic shift that Google has been making for several years now. It essentially means that instead of indexing websites based on their desktop version, Google has chosen to prioritise the mobile versions when creating search engine ranking results. This shift specifically applies to not just webpages but other kinds of content on websites such as videos and images as well. Mobile-first indexing is a major step forward in prioritising mobile user experience, since more than half of all traffic accessing websites now comes from mobile devices.

The primary benefit of utilising mobile-first indexing is that it delivers a more reliable and consistent consumer experience across different platforms and devices. The algorithm also promotes better usability since websites are optimised for smaller screens without compromising the overall quality. Additionally, faster loading times—a prominent change since the switch—mean users have an easier time finding what they need quickly, thus increasing satisfaction with the services provided by those sites.

Opponents to mobile-first indexing claims that this strategy might encourage websites and developers to focus too heavily on developing only for mobile, which could lead to neglected desktop designs and potential frustration for desktop users who do not get the same level of tailored attention. Others worry about how much mobile optimisation might add to costs associated with website maintenance, which could result in certain site owners investing less in improving websites overall design and user experience.

The impact of Google’s mobile-first indexing algorithm on web design, performance, and rankings cannot be overstated. In the next section, we will discuss Google’s approach to mobile-first indexing to see how this changes affects you and how you can be prepared for it.

  • According to recent studies, more than 60% of all global web searches are now performed on mobile devices.
  • In March 2018, Google announced that it was shifting its primary search index from desktops to mobile devices, otherwise known as mobile-first indexing.
  • Mobile-first indexing has been proven to have a measurable impact on website rankings and user experience. Studies show that as many as 30% of websites experienced better ranking in search results after implementing mobile-first indexing practises.

Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Algorithm

Google’s Mobile-First Indexing algorithm is the method that the search engine giant is using to prioritise websites and content in its mobile search rankings. This approach marks a significant change for businesses around the world, with many of them struggling to keep up with the changes. The goal of Google’s Mobile-First Indexing algorithm is to ensure that search results deliver a quality experience for mobile users, as the number of searchers accessing the internet from their mobile devices continues to grow.

The algorithm assesses two different versions of a website – one optimised for desktop and one for mobile devices – and ranks pages based on the user’s device or other factors. For example, if someone searches from a desktop device, any website optimised for both mobile and desktop would be ranked higher than one designed only for desktop use. Alternatively, if someone searches using a mobile device, they will get results that are focused on content optimised specifically for their device. This could mean that their search results differ significantly from those seen on a desktop device.

Arguments both in favour of and against Google’s Mobile-First Indexing algorithm can be made. Some argue that it puts too much pressure on webmasters as they now have to ensure their websites are fully optimised for mobile devices in order to stay competitive in search rankings. On the other hand, it’s undeniable that delivering an excellent user experience through responsive design is beneficial for increasing engagement with online customers.

In conclusion, Google’s Mobile-First Indexing algorithm provides an opportunity for businesses to increase visibility through improved website optimisation practises that can help improve overall user experience, which can lead to increased revenue. With this in mind, it’s important for businesses to understand what this new indexing algorithm means and how to prepare their sites and content accordingly. To learn more about the differences between Desktop and Mobile Indexing keep reading this professional article.

What is the Difference between Desktop and Mobile Indexing?

The major difference between desktop and mobile indexing is how users view content in each environment. Desktop indexing retrieves information and displays it to the user regardless of the type of device they’re using. Mobile indexing, on the other hand, takes into account the size of the screen on a mobile device and modifies how content is displayed in order to make it more mobile-friendly. Mobile-first indexing also looks at page speed, which can affect user experience when looking at websites on slower networks.

When making decisions about content, both types of indexing take authority signals into consideration – such as backlinks and page titles – but desktop indexing only considers those signals within the context of written content, while mobile-indexing focuses heavily on the structure of the page and ensuring that the content looks good on all devices. Additionally, Google has stated that they look at more “content signals” such as location data from mobile searches when making decisions about what content to prioritise in their index, sending even more traffic to mobile-optimised sites. This further illustrates just how important responsive design for sites is for search engine optimisation (SEO).

Debates about whether desktop or mobile indexing should be a company’s priority have been ongoing since Google released its mobile algorithm update back in 2015. Proponents of desktop indexing argue that this approach gives businesses more flexibility, since all of their content will still be visible no matter which device a user is using to access it. On the other hand, while mobile-first indexing requires companies to invest time and effort into optimising their website for mobile devices, it could lead to increased engagement with customers operating from those devices. Ultimately, because so many people are now accessing websites from their phones or tablets instead of desktops, having a site optimised for mobile use will guarantee that potential customers don’t lose interest due to loading delays or inconvenient layout.

By understanding the differences between desktop and mobile-based indexing processes – plus focusing on optimising your website for both options – you can ensure that your business is in line with Google’s current algorithms and maintain visibility in SERPs on any device. With that in mind, let’s now discuss what companies need to do in order to prepare for mobile-first indexing.

Preparing for Mobile-First Indexing

Google’s switch to a mobile-first index for its search engine results has left many webmasters wondering what changes need to be made in order to meet their standards. Preparing for mobile-first indexing involves creating an environment that is optimised exclusively for mobile users, ensuring an effective and efficient website design.

First, it is important to take inventory of your existing content and ensure that it is easily accessible on a mobile device; this could involve using CSS or JavaScript coding. It is also crucial to focus on optimising the website’s speed and reliability, as overloaded websites are often met with lower rankings on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Additionally, if your website includes “mDot” URLs, they should be included in your sitemap and supported by appropriate metadata.

When restructuring the look of your mobile page, it is imperative to consider the various display sizes of different devices. Responsive design is essential for multi-platform optimisation – which means the same URL will be accessible across all standard devices. Remember, too much scrolling and tapping can make it difficult for users to navigate around the page and limit their user experience.

These steps will benefit your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) ranking on both desktop and mobile searches alike, so taking initiative on these changes will provide long-term benefits to your brand. Further, having a mobile-friendly website increases credibility with users: research suggests 86% of consumers expect better results when searching via mobile device than when using their computers.

As you prepare your website for the transition to Google’s new indexing system, make sure you optimise your content for mobile devices before moving forward with other SEO strategies. The next section will focus on how to do that effectively by outlining best practises for optimising content for mobile devices.

Optimising Content for Mobile Devices

Optimising content for mobile devices is a critical step in preparing for mobile-first indexing. To ensure a website is completely optimised for mobile, there are several things that need to be done. Firstly, the site must use responsive web design so that content will reformat itself based on the device on which it’s being viewed. This allows users to see all the same content no matter what device they are using. Secondly, page download speed should be monitored and optimised for mobile devices as much as possible because longer load times can lead to a decrease in conversions. Additionally, images should be sized properly so that they won’t slow down loading speeds and buttons and other interactive elements should be large enough so they are easily clickable on different devices.

Finally, it’s important to note that some content may not be necessary or appropriate for certain devices and therefore should be adjusted accordingly. For example, some sidebar widgets from the desktop view may need to be hidden on the mobile version of the page. All these considerations are important when optimising your content for mobile viewers – but is it worth it? The debate about whether you should remove content versus reformatting it still rages on, with one side claiming it’s worth taking the time to adjust content while others say removing content is more efficient.

No matter where you stand on this debate though, one thing is certain: if you want to appear in organic search results through mobile-first indexing, your website needs to be optimised properly for mobile devices. With that said, let’s take a look at how else you can benefit from mobile-first indexing. In the next section we’ll discuss the benefits of mobile-first indexing.

Benefits of Mobile-First Indexing

The primary benefit of mobile-first indexing is that it makes sure content is being indexed and displayed the same way for both desktop and non-desktop users. This helps to ensure that all users are having a consistent experience when searching, regardless of their device or platform. Additionally, this helps to prioritise mobile content since many search engine algorithms now focus on mobile-first indexing.

Another benefit of mobile-first indexing is that it gives businesses the opportunity to gain an edge in SERP rankings. As more mobile searches become the norm, it’s important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. Mobile-first indexing provides companies with the chance to make sure their websites are optimised for the mobile platform first so they can take advantage of this opportunity.

Moreover, mobile-first indexing can help businesses save money by loading content faster and using less data. Since most people use smaller devices with limited data allowances, speedy loading times and low data usage are essential. Mobile-first indexing does this by allowing search engines to prioritise keywords, titles, and other relevant content for quick loading times.

Though there are numerous benefits to using mobile-first indexing, some webmasters express concern over its potential negative impact on SEO efforts and existing website rankings. As with any new technology or approach, there may be some drawbacks that require careful consideration before taking any steps toward implementing it. Nonetheless, understanding what mobile-first indexing entails is necessary in order to determine if it’s right for your business model and goals moving forward.

In summary, mobile-first indexing offers a number of advantages that businesses should consider. By optimising their websites and taking advantage of this new approach, companies can improve user experience and boost their SERP rankings while also saving money on data costs. Now that we have discussed the benefits associated with this strategy, let’s move on to examine the impact of mobile-first indexing on SEO.


Mobile-first indexing is a new technology that allows search engines to index content the same way for both desktop and mobile users. It has numerous advantages, including an edge in SERP rankings, faster loading times and lower data usage. However, there may be a negative impact on SEO efforts and existing website rankings that need to be taken into consideration. To determine if this strategy is right for businesses, it’s important to understand what mobile-first indexing entails before implementing it.

Impact of Mobile-First Indexing on SEO

As Google shifts to a mobile-first indexing strategy, it’s essential for all websites to understand the impact this will have on their organic search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts. From a technical perspective, the switch to mobile-first indexing means that Google will now crawl and index pages based on the mobile version of a website, rather than the desktop version.

Most experts agree that this shift goes beyond page speed optimisation and other technical elements; how your content is structured, formatted, and optimised for both desktop and mobile devices will also become increasingly important. This means that the content must be designed with user experience in mind. For example, content should be written to properly fit the size of each device, with large headlines and appropriate font sizes for maximum readability.

The debate about whether or not this new system will have a positive or negative effect on SEO evolves daily. Some argue that as search results begin to favour sites that have been optimised for mobile devices, desktop users may find it more difficult to locate online resources suited for their larger screens. But those who are pro-mobile-first cite statistics from Google which indicate that over half of all searches occur on mobile devices, making it more important than ever for websites to cater to this growing audience.

Regardless of the arguments for or against mobile-first indexing, one thing is clear – if you want your website to continue ranking high in search results, there’s no way around investing time in adapting your webpages accordingly. To ensure your website is fully prepared for this shift, let’s move on to discussing how best to prepare your website for mobile-first indexing.

Preparing Your Website for Mobile-First Indexing

The move to mobile-first indexing has created a need for website owners to ensure their sites are optimised for mobile. This includes, but is not limited to, making sure the website properly renders on all devices and that content, images and videos display correctly across all device types. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your site is as ready as possible for mobile-first indexing:

1. Analyse Your Site in a Mobile Context: Take a look at your website through the eyes of someone using it on a smartphone. Ensure your site’s interface, navigation, buttons and other elements all appear clearly and accurately on both portrait and landscape devices. Sub-pages should also load quickly regardless of how many different elements they contain. If your website appears “clunky” or unorganised on mobile devices, take steps to fix those issues prior to transitioning to mobile-first indexing.

2. Consider Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs): AMPs are stripped-down versions of web pages that load faster than standard HTML pages due to the reduction in code needed to deliver them. You may want to consider utilising AMP if your current website does not load particularly quickly on smartphones or tablets.

3. Make Sure Content & Images Are Responsive: Content should scale words and objects correctly dependent upon the device being used to access it, as should images or other graphics used within articles or blog posts. Test what happens when you switch from desktop to mobile views; does everything remain aligned? Do media appear properly sized? If not, take steps to improve your site’s responsiveness.

4. Look Into Using Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): PWAs essentially allow websites to offer ‘app-like experiences’ directly within a browser windowwhile still allowing users access to traditional URLs rather than a dedicated app download page in an app store. PWAs can help websites gain an edge in terms of UX and page speed performance when compared with classic websites, so consider implementing this technology prior to transitioning into mobile-first indexing whenever possible.

5. Perform Regular Technical Audits & Track Performance: Finally, make sure that after taking any necessary steps to optimise your website for mobile devices that you track performance metrics available via Google Search Console such as browser type visors or errors ahead of the move into the new indexing system. Doing so will help make sure that everything is running smoothly once the migration is complete.

There is no single solution for optimising websites for mobile-first indexing, but staying organised and understanding the newly implemented changes from Google can help make the transition run more smoothly while ensuring that your site remains visible and user friendly across all device types going forward.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How does mobile-first indexing affect SEO performance?

Mobile-first indexing can have both positive and negative effects on SEO performance. On the positive side, a website that is optimised for mobile can be better ranked by search engines, as it will appear more relevant to modern users who primarily search on their phones. Additionally, mobile-first indexing can give an advantage to sites with a fast loading speed, as Google places importance on ensuring that their results are quick and easy for their users to access.

On the other hand, websites that are not optimised for mobile may experience a decrease in ranking if they haven’t made the necessary changes to make their content mobile friendly. If a website isn’t optimised properly and uses large amounts of resources due to slow loading speeds or inadequate design choices, Google may decide to rank them lower than competitors which would lead to reduced SEO performance. Therefore, it’s important for website owners to consider mobile-first indexing when making improvements in order to maximise SEO performance.

What are the key benefits of mobile-first indexing?

The key benefits of mobile-first indexing are:

1. Increased visibility to mobile searches – Mobile-first indexing makes it easier for search engine bots to crawl and index content meant for mobile users, meaning sites optimised for mobile use will be more visible on search engines.

2. Faster loading times – Sites with mobile-friendly components like CSS, JavaScript, and HTML can load faster on some phones than their traditional desktop counterparts. This can lead to improved user experience, which could potentially result in increased conversion rates or higher user engagement levels.

3. Better optimisation – By utilising mobile-first indexing, sites can reduce the size of their website and optimise the content so that it loads quickly for users on any device. This means that a site optimised for mobile use may have a better chance of ranking higher in Google searches.

4. Improved SEO rankings – Mobile-first indexing can help rank a website higher since Google takes page loading speed into account when determining SEO rankings. Additionally, optimising for both desktop and mobile versions makes it easier for users to access content on the go and therefore increases the likelihood that they will come back for more visits in the future.

How should websites be prepared for mobile-first indexing?

In order to prepare a website for mobile-first indexing, it is important to ensure that all content is easily accessible on both desktop and mobile devices. This includes making sure the structure of the website is well optimised for both types of devices and ensuring any images are correctly sized and optimised for mobile. Additionally, any content should be concise and formatted appropriately for quick loading on mobile devices. It is also essential for websites to use responsive design techniques so the pages adjust automatically depending on screen size or device type. Finally, websites should ensure their pages are linked correctly between desktop and mobile versions to avoid any potential errors with indexing.

Last Updated on March 21, 2023

Matt Jackson

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
Need SEO help? Email me for more info, at