Today, many website are becoming responsive with mobile-first, Google has begun an initiative to make its search index mobile-first. More-specifically, Google's ranking signals will now primarily look at the mobile version of the site while indexing and falls back to the desktop version, if there is no mobile site detected.
As of today, Google searches are mobile-first, but its indexing is still desktop. In a post today, Google explains that most searches today happening on a mobile device. However, their ranking systems still looks at the desktop version of a page's content to evaluate a page's ranking.
Since, the algorithms are not evaluating the actual page content, the issue aroses here, "when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page."
To make index mobile-first, Google notes the new ranking algorithms will now primarily use mobile version of a site's pages content, structured data to show snippets from those pages in the search results. Adding, they said although the index will now built using mobile documents, but the search experience will be great for both worlds, as well as will continue to be a single index of websites and apps.
Over the coming months, Google said, it'll continue experimenting this algorithm on a small scale, and will make it broadly available when satisfied. Still though, here are some recommendations for webmasters to prepare a move to mobile-focused index. To this end, Google said, the underlined changes should be made to those sites, "whose primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop," including:
- first up add and serve structured markup for both desktop and mobile version of your site. To verify structured markup, just type the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output.
- "only" add markup to a mobile site that's relevant and specific to content of each document, and "avoid adding large amounts of structured markup data."
- verify if your mobile version of robots.txt is accessible to Googlebot by using the robots.txt testing tool.
- "don't make changes to canonical links," Google said, these links will be used as guides to serve appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
Additionally, if you haven't yet, "just add the mobile version of your site to Search Console."
Finally, they said its better to have a fully functional desktop-oriented site, than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. As, Google will continue to index desktop site just fine, "even if we're using a mobile user agent to view your site," added Google.