Last week Google announced that after a year and a half of experimenting, they will start with the so-called “mobile-first indexing”. What does that mean and how much impact does it have on your website?

Normally, Google crawls the desktop version of the pages on your website. However, if that page is very different from the mobile version of a page, it can cause problems for mobile users. Google may index information that is visible on a desktop, but not on a mobile phone. And that is frustrating for Google's mainly mobile users.

One page of results remains

Google will now approach this differently. It is checked whether there is a mobile version of the website, and if there is, it is used for indexing. There will be no separate index that will only contain the mobile results. There simply remains one index with all results. If Google cannot find a mobile version of the page, it will simply index the desktop version.

What will I notice about this?

Not much at first. Google notifies webmasters through the Google Search Console when the mobile version of the site is indexed. It is quite possible that you will see increased crawl traffic from the Smartphone Googlebot. The pages that have been successfully crawled by this bot are then displayed as search results and also cached. Mobile indexing does not affect the ranking of your pages. Mobile indexing is about how the content is retrieved by Google, not about the ranking of the page. Do you want to know whether you are completely mobile ready according to Google? Then check that out on Google's Mobile Friendly Test.

How many sites are actually mobile friendly?

That turns out to be difficult to say, because when is a website mobile friendly? There are no hard standards for this. There is a difference between “mobile friendly” and “responsive”. The image below clearly shows this:

Credits: https://www.sweor.com/responsivewebdesign

The fact that the percentage of mobile-friendly websites is high is evident from several sources. The percentage is around 80-85%. Of the first 100 websites listed in 2017 in the Alexa Top 500 sites list is 80% mobile friendly. And according to Google itself, the number of mobile-friendly results that appeared via mobile search was in 2016 at 85%.

So the mobile-friendliness of your site is probably fine. However, always keep an eye on the operation of the mobile version of your site and try to optimize it where possible. This way you ensure that your visitor finds what he is looking for and you create an optimal user experience.