Mobile-first indexing has been the talk of the SEO town ever since Google rolled out this feature in March 2018. The search giant initially supported only the desktop version of indexing which allows marketers to manually tell Google bots to crawl a particular URL. But now with Mobile-first indexing, things are going to change gradually as it more-or-less prioritizes mobile devices over the desktop versions.
What Is Mobile First Indexing?
In Mobile-first indexing, Google predominantly indexes the mobile version of a website or webpage. Indexing is performed by the Google bot which crawls the web pages along with a smartphone agent. Before this update, indexing was primarily meant for the desktop version only and could be requested through Google Search Console (also known as Google Webmaster).
While the desktop version still remains at par, Google clearly seems to be shifting the focus to mobile devices. Since the majority of internet users access Google through their mobile devices, this update clearly indicates the latter’s intent to promote mobility with its future updates.
Does It Really Impact The Search Ranking?
The Mobile-first indexing has arrived quite recently and there’s still time till it goes mainstream. Also, the update is subject to changes, modifications, and enhancements. So at this point in time, the question worth asking is, ‘does this update really impact the search rankings of a website?’ As the name suggests, it prioritizes the mobile version of a website over the desktop. So it’s a preconceived notion that it would rank mobile-friendly websites higher in SERPs. However, it’s not exactly the case.
It turns out that even if we optimize a website thoroughly for mobile devices, the SERP rankings of the desktop version will remain intact.
Remember that ranking and indexing are entirely different; each one serves a different purpose and follows a different set of protocols. Through these updates, Google is only changing the way it indexes. It doesn’t have to do anything with the way Google ranks a website or a web page. The factors responsible for ranking a website still remain intact. So it doesn’t change anything of that sort.
What Does It Change Then?
The end goal of mobile first indexing is to predominantly crawl the mobile version of a website. It by no means, impact the desktop version rankings of a website. However, it gives your website an edge over the competitors if it’s properly optimized for mobile devices. The update entails that Google puts its prime emphasis on indexing the mobile version of a website. It loosely implies that a mobile-friendly website would get better visibility across the mobile devices but the ranking of its desktop version will remain intact. With mobile-first indexing, Google attempts to refine its mobile searches and makes it clear that it’s going to make its SERPs more mobile-oriented as time goes by.