Common SEO questions about mobile-first indexing answered


There have been a lot of questions and concerns following Google’s announcement that they will be rolling out mobile-first indexing in 2018. Mobile browsing overtook desktop browsing in 2016, so this move has been along time coming. But the “big” change has still got many marketers flustered. Business owners are worrying how they’re rankings will be affected and marketers are wondering what they need to do to prepare.

So in this article we will be looking at the most frequently asked SEO questions when it comes to mobile-first indexing and providing our insights to answer them.


Is there now another Google index?

No, there is still only one Google index. There isn’t a new mobile-only index, there is still only one single index. Hence why it is called Mobile-First and not Mobile-only. The change in indexing just means that Google will look at a website’s mobile site first before looking at their desktop site.


So will Google only use my mobile site?

If you have a mobile version of your website or if your website is responsive, you can expect Google to start using that content as the basis for your rankings. There may be some circumstances where Google looks at your desktop website, but it will always try to look at your mobile website first. This is why websites that aren’t mobile friendly may start to find themselves being penalized.


Will I not be indexed if my site isn’t mobile friendly?

Even if you don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your website, you will still be ranked in Google. You just may not rank as highly as you did before and you may not rank at all on smartphones. This is why it is important to build a mobile version of your website before it is too late.

Is the mobile index live already?

It isn’t clear how Google is using the mobile index at the moment. We do know that it has been experimenting with a mobile-first approach on a small number of websites that were perceived to be the most ready. The wider roll out of the index will probably take a little longer, however, perhaps even several years. While this might give you some time, don’t wait to get a mobile version of your website in place.


How does it compare having a mobile responsive site vs. a separate mobile site?

The two sites will be ranked the same. Google will judge the mobile version of your site regardless of whether this is a seperate site or a responsive version of your desktop site. The only difference is what you will need to do to be ready. With a responsive website you will need to optimize for speed and navigation and focus on the user experience. With a separate mobile site you will need to make sure that the content on your mobile site reflects the content on your desktop site.

Mobile-first indexing doesn’t need to be scary. If you need help understanding how it will work and preparing your site, get in touch with us today.