Google said it will turn off the indexing crawler information in the settings page in Search Console.

Google says mobile-first indexing is complete after almost 7 years. After years in the making, Google has fully transitioned to mobile-first indexing, the search engine giant announced Tuesday. This means Google prioritizes mobile versions when crawling pages and indexing content.

Google’s mobile-first indexing initiative that started just about seven years ago is now complete, according to Google. “It’s been a long road, getting from there to here. We’re delighted to announce that the trek to Mobile First Indexing is now complete,” John Mueller from Google wrote on the Google blog.

mobile-first indexing
mobile-first indexing


As a reminder, Google started mobile-first indexing over 6.5 years ago, and eventually, after publishing deadline after deadline, Google removed the deadline. Google first introduced mobile-first indexing back in November 2016, and by December 2018, half of all sites in Google’s search results were from mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing simply means that Google will crawl your site from the eyes of a mobile browser and use that mobile version for indexing and ranking.

The shift reflects Google’s increased focus on mobile devices that began in 2015. At the time, Google updated its search algorithm to favor “mobile-friendly” sites.

The following year, the company started the process of mobile-first indexing by crawling mobile pages rather than desktop.

Google in early March 2020, before all the lockdowns began across most of the world, announced the deadline for all sites to switch over to mobile-first indexing would be September 2020. At that time, Google said, “To simplify, we’ll be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites starting September 2020.”  Then in July 2020, Google moved that deadline once again to March 2021.

But in May, Google told us that it was done switching sites over to mobile-indexing, so this announcement, that it is “done” now is a bit confusing.

What now? 

Google said there is “a very small set of sites which do not work on mobile devices at all.” Google explained that those “are primarily that the page shows errors to all mobile users, that the mobile version of the site is blocked with robots.txt while the desktop version is allowed for crawling, or that all pages on the mobile site redirect to the homepage.”

Google said these types of issues are issues that Google cannot workaround. Google said it will “continue to try to crawl these sites with our legacy desktop Googlebot crawler for the time being, and will re-evaluate the list a few times a year.”

Google will also reduce its crawling with legacy desktop Googlebot.

Crawling Mobile Provides Better User Experience

With mobile now surpassing desktop in global internet usage, crawling the mobile versions provides the most accurate experience for what users see when searching on phones.

Websites have gradually adapted by making mobile pages as full-featured as desktop.

Search Console changes

Google also announced that it will be turning off the indexing crawler information in the settings page in Google Search Console. Google is removing this because the “information is no longer needed since all websites that work on mobile devices are now being primarily crawled with our mobile crawler,” Google explained.

Related Changes To Search Console

In a related change, Google is removing indexing crawler data from Search Console, its webmaster tool. With the shift complete, this data is no longer necessary since all functional sites are crawled via mobile.

The years-long transition to mobile-first indexing reflects the increasing centrality of mobile devices to internet use worldwide.

With the rollout finished, Google has fully embraced mobile as the primary way users access the web.

Why we care

That is all folks – this is one for the history books. Mobile-first indexing is now really done, and Google will soon stop crawling via its legacy desktop crawler completely.

What should you do now?

Ensure Google can access and render your content

Google highly recommends that a mobile website uses the same meta robots tags as the desktop version. Doing this will help you in ensuring that Google can easily render your content. This helps in avoiding any occurrences of lazy-loading of webpages or content in it. This is because Googlebot cannot load any content that is dependent on user interactions.

Ensure that content is the same on mobile and desktop

Having the same primary content on both the mobile and desktop site is very important. You can have different layouts for designs for mobile devices. But ensure to make the content equivalent on desktop and mobile versions maintaining consistency for search engine algorithms. Since mobile first indexing is how your website gets indexed, this consistency is of utmost importance.

Check Structured Data

Ensure that if you have structured data on your website, it is present on both the mobile and desktop versions. You can prioritize or pick the type of structured data you want on your mobile site such as VideoObject, Breadcrumb, or Product. Also make sure that the URLs in your structured data are correctly updated to match with mobile URLs.

Look Over Your Visual Content

1. Check Images

Ensure that your mobile website is following the best practices for images. Some things to consider include:

  • Do not use lower resolution pictures
  • Ensure that you are using the supported image types. Google can support file types like SVG format or PNG etc.
  • Ensure that the alt text on the images is same in desktop and mobile versions of the website

2. Check Videos

Check for the following things for your mobile website for videos:

  • Don’t use constantly changing URLs for videos for every page reload. This will make it difficult for Google to identify the resources and index your videos
  • Ensure that the structured data for videos is same on the desktop and mobile versions
  • Position the video in an accessible area on the mobile version. If the users are not able to find the video quickly, it might cause the video’s ranking to go down.

Enhance the speed of mobile pages

Users will bounce from your website if it has a slow loading speed. Site speed continues to be one of the determining ranking factors for mobile websites. You can use site audit tools from SEMRush and Ahrefs to analyze your site loading speed, and improve it, if needed.

Monitoring mobile errors

You constantly need to monitor the Search Console in order to find any Google mobile first indexing errors. Any mobile errors need to be resolved quickly so they don’t harm your website’s SEO. Regularly check the Core Web Vitals reports on the Search Console to keep an eye on this.


What is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of a website’s content for ranking and indexing purposes. Mobile-first indexing was rolled out on 1st July 2019, for all websites. However, prior to this, Google used the desktop version of a page’s content for ranking and indexing. Mobile-first indexing was rolled out as the number of mobile users has increased drastically as compared to desktop users. Google now uses a smartphone agent to crawl and index your website.

What is the effect of Google’s mobile-first indexing on the different versions of websites?

If you have a responsive website, Google will crawl the mobile version of the website to collect content and later, index the site. In this case, the point to bear in mind is that the website should be responsive on both devices, i.e. the desktop and mobile.
If you have both desktop and mobile versions of your website, i.e. and, Google will consider the mobile version as the primary one and crawl it first to index your website based on its mobile-first index search algorithm update.


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