IMPACT Inbound Marketing Agency]
Services
TAYA

They Ask, You Answer Mastery

A coaching & training program that drives unmatched sales & marketing results.

Sales

Sales Performance Mastery

Improve the competencies and close rates of your sales organization.

Web design

Website Mastery

Web design, development & training for your team.

HubSpot

HubSpot Mastery

Everything you need to get the most from HubSpot.

AI Mastery

AI Enablement Mastery

Unlock the power of AI in all aspects of your revenue operations.

Discover how IMPACT’s services can help take your business to the next level. Book a free 30-minute coaching session Book a free 30-minute coaching session
Learning Center
Learning Center

Learning Center

Free resources to help you improve the way you market, sell and grow your business.

[NEW] The Endless Customers Podcast is now available everywhere. Learn how to earn trust & win more customers in the age of AI. Listen Now Listen Now

Free: Assessment Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?

Close Bottom Left Popup Offer

Free: Assessment

Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?
Take this free 6 question assessment and learn how your website can start living up to its potential.
Rachel Denney

By Rachel Denney

Mar 11, 2020

Topics:

Search Engine Optimization News Marketing Strategy
Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our weekly newsletter.

Get the most relevant, actionable digital sales and marketing insights you need to make smarter decisions faster... all in under five minutes.

Thanks, stay tuned for our upcoming edition.
Search Engine Optimization  |   News  |   Marketing Strategy

Google's new mobile-first indexing deadline: September 2020

Rachel Denney

By Rachel Denney

Mar 11, 2020

Google's new mobile-first indexing deadline: September 2020

Google announced that its switch to mobile-first indexing will be complete in September of this year.

When Google first started sending alerts to site owners earlier this year, it established the expectation that mobile-first indexing would be complete within "the next six to twelve months," and some organizations predicted the deadline to be on the longer end of that time range.

🤔 Related: Wait, what's mobile-first indexing and why does it matter?

Now, website owners need to prioritize preparing their sites for complete mobile-first indexing in order to maintain their rankings.

The tech giant has been prioritizing mobile-first indexing since 2016 and now, with over 70% of websites transferred over, the end of the project is in sight.

What is mobile-first indexing?

Many websites have two primary versions: desktop pages and mobile pages. Because these different iterations are completely separate versions, most search engines — Google included — long identified, indexed, and ranked websites based on the desktop versions.

For most of the internet's history, algorithms have primarily focused on desktop pages, where most of the activity happened.

However, as online searches increasingly shifted to mobile devices, prioritizing the mobile page versions made more sense.

According to a recent Statista report, the last quarter of 2019 saw 52.6% of website traffic originating from mobile devices. This is a rapid development, since only 31% of website traffic came from mobile devices just five years ago.

Now, Google indexes and ranks website pages based on the popularity and usage of the mobile versions. Google only has one index, rather than separate desktop and mobile systems, and websites with a smartphone agent (or proper mobile enablement) will be prioritized.

Not only has Google enabled mobile-first indexing for new or previously unrecognized sites since July 2019, but it has also been sending alerts to website owners with sites that can't be properly indexed. 

What can businesses expect from mobile-first indexing?

Ideally, there should be little impact on your traffic or rankings. If your mobile site is identical to your desktop version in terms of content, metadata, and accessibility, Google can easily analyze your site.

However, if your mobile site is smaller, has less content, or is substantially different from your desktop site, then you may see less traffic.

In fact, this may have already happened to many websites: the project is already 70% complete, so many sites may have already seen, resolved, or adapted to a change in rankings. 

Site owners with old, custom, or complex sites might also expect to see notices from Google over the next few months. Much like with Google's clunkily-worded notices about metadata, the notices may seem more immediately severe than they are by listing errors, warnings, and issues.

This doesn't mean something is wrong with your site or that Google is penalizing your site in its algorithm.

Instead, the notices indicate potential problems that are interfering with mobile-first indexing processes. Google has also provided a list of updates, recommendations, and specific instructions for each code type so anyone who receives a notice can understand the underlying concern.

Website owners should evaluate those potential errors and take action quickly so the mobile crawler can index the site on its next pass through.

What are the impacts for business owners?

Ultimately, if your site relies on website traffic, it's important to follow Google's recommendations and make sure your site is as indexable as possible.

This allows Google to understand current engagement on your site, the value of the mobile pages, and how your site works.

Then, once the September 2020 deadline passes, compliant website owners should see little to no change in website traffic. In fact, depending on how diligent your competitors have been, you may even see an increase in traffic as inaccessible sites don't get indexed.

What should website owners be doing now?

Website owners should be prioritizing the mobile versions of their site over the desktop versions or, more ideally, make the site version updates as identical as possible.

This includes verifying that the content, structured data, and metadata are identical. It's also important for you or your website team to understand how Google's algorithm indexes pages and what it can't recognize.

For example, the Googlebot won't index data that doesn't load unless a viewer swipes or taps on it. Ungate these portions of your content so bots can crawl through it.

The Googlebot also can't index fragment URLs (which start with a '/#' after the domain or subdomain).

Businesses benefit from checking their own site for full access and best mobile practices rather than relying on a notice from Google. 

Free: Assessment

Does your website build trust with buyers and bring in revenue?
Take this free 6 question assessment and learn how your website can start living up to its potential.
/* Infinite Scroll - Disabled on Articles to allow people to scroll to bottom page CTA */