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What is mobile first indexing?


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Mobile first indexing is primarily driven by the increase in mobile traffic over the years. Mobile is far outpacing desktop as the number one method of searching.

Google is referring to this as “primarily mobile” that the majority of people who use Google search today now do so from mobile devices, and have done so since 2015. Mobile-friendliness has long been one of the many factors in determining how a site is ranked, but it’s not the only factor. For example, there are times when a non-mobile-friendly page still has the best information and will appear higher, Google says.

Google has begun to prioritize mobile sites in several ways. For example, it began to boost the rank of mobile-friendly sites on mobile search results back in 2015, and more recently said it was adding a signal that uses page speed to help determine a page’s mobile search ranking. Starting in July 2018, slow-loading content will be down ranked.

While Google today claims the mobile-friendly indexing won’t directly impact how content is ranked, it does note that having a site’s mobile-friendly content indexed in this new fashion will likely help the site “perform better” in mobile search results.

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Mobile-first indexing essentially means that Googlebot will use the mobile version of a website to assess it for ranking on mobile devices. The change has occurred as previously, Google only used the desktop version of websites to determine their index on search engine result pages (SERP). This meant that mobile users may have had difficulties viewing certain websites that weren’t mobile-friendly, such as having to zoom-in on content or incurring lengthy load time.

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Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page's content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user's query.

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