Google has announced that they are shifting from Desktop only index to mobile only index and this announcement has given sleepless nights to many SEO professionals.
They are worried about their clients and their overall strategy. Until now, Google ranked websites based on the desktop version. After this major shift, websites will be ranked based on the content on their mobile version.
The major reason behind this shift is the dramatic escalation in the number of mobile users across the globe. We now officially have more people searching on mobile than desktop. But still, many websites shows comprehensive content on their desktop version and not so impressive content on the mobile version. And to fix this, Google has come up with the Mobile-only index.
Google is trying to address everyone’s concerns during the initial stage. They have published some recommendations and information for you to understand the upcoming changes and how you can stay on the top after the shift. Although this advice is only for those who don’t have a responsive website, those who already have don’t have to worry about anything because they will not be impacted at all.
Google’s advice for the Non-responsive websites:
- Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
- Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
- When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
- Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
- If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
- If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.
If the mobile version of your site is showing less content than the desktop one, make sure you change it before the shift:
Google will only look at the mobile version of your content. If it’s lacking compared to your desktop version then you’ll lose the rankings (and visitors) that your desktop content was bringing in.
In case you are serving mobile content on the AMP format, then Google will use your desktop website’s content for ranking.
Also, if you have previously removed the structured data from your mobile site for better speed, you will want to add it back before the shift happens, otherwise you will lose your rich snippets.
We will keep you updated on further developments.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)