Google will not set a date for the Mobile-First index

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Google has announced that the deadline for switching to a fully mobile-first index has been lifted and that there is currently no date for a definitive switch. The postponement of the final move to a mobile-first index was made to accommodate the remaining websites that have not yet updated to a mobile-friendly version.

Google Mobile First Index

The mobile-first index was intended to be an index of mobile-friendly web pages to be used for ranking purposes and for search-related functionality, such as snippets.

The reason for moving to a mobile index first was to better serve the majority of Google search users who primarily used mobile devices to access Google.

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The problem Google was solving was that of showing search results from websites whose desktop version indexed significantly varied from the mobile versions presented to searchers on mobile devices.

Google noted in 2016:

“… our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to assess its relevance to the user.

This can cause problems when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms do not evaluate the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.

The original idea was to completely move website indexing and webpage ranking to 100% mobile-friendly documents and not use content from desktop versions for ranking and indexing.

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However, that goal has been put on hold for now and the timeline, according to Google, remains open.

The date for switching to a fully moving index first was March 2021. However, that date has come and is gone.

Google cancels date for mobile first

A new Google blog post (written by John Mueller) announced that the final date for a move to a 100% mobile-first search index has been set aside, essentially canceling a target launch date for a move.

The ad stated:

“..After analyzing the sites that are not yet indexed as mobile priority, we determined that some of these sites are still not ready to transfer due to various unexpected challenges they face.

Due to these difficulties, we have decided to leave the timeline open for the final stages of mobile-first indexing.

… We thought we could complete the migration to mobile indexing first by March 2021. However, we found that some sites were facing unexpected challenges and we wanted to adapt to their deadlines.

We currently do not have a specific end date for moving to mobile indexing first and we want to reflect on the major steps remaining in this direction.

Changes to the indexing of Google sites?

Google indexing has been in the news lately and a topic of concern and discussion on social media, with the perception that Google’s indexing has changed.

The search marketing community has been worried about search indexing over the past month, with many people saying that it has become increasingly difficult to index content by Google, marketers of research from around the world sharing data that apparently proves Google is indexing less content.

Bing announced a new crawling protocol called IndexNow that promises major changes in the way web pages are discovered and indexed. Google subsequently announced that it would study whether there were any benefits to adopting the new IndexNow crawling and indexing protocol.

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Mobile-First search index is carried over

It looks like Google doesn’t have a firm plan to move to a fully mobile search index at this time. Google has not shared statistics on how many sites have failed to develop a mobile-friendly web presence, but it must be a significant number for Google to resist abandoning these sites. Web as part of a move to a mobile index first.

Quotes

Google reports the Mobile First index

A 2021 update on mobile indexing

Read Google’s 2016 plans for the Mobile-First index

Mobile-first indexing


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