The last decade has witnessed a massive transformation in web browsing statistics. This transformation is a direct consequence of the surge in the usage of smartphones and tablets. Mobile devices now drive most of the search traffic. This has resulted in Google tweaking it’s searching and indexing methods. To put it in simple terminology, Google has started using a mobile-first approach in indexing. 

Let us investigate further about this new approach to this and its effect on the virtual world.

What is a mobile-first indexing approach?

Search engines crawl all over the internet, and after the crawlers have finished crawling the web pages, it indexes the information and the data collected on that page for faster search results. This is known as indexing. 

mobile-first indexing

Earlier, Google used to index the web pages according to the desktop web. But now Google has changed its indexing policy to favor the increasing number of mobile devices. This means the Google crawlers will predominantly start using the mobile version of any website to index its data and rank them accordingly. This has been implemented from July 1, 2019. 

All the new websites released after July 1 are being indexed using the mobile-first indexing approach. As for the older websites, Google will be continuously monitoring and evaluating the pages in the best way possible. The older site owners will be notified through the search console once the indexing of their website is completed. However, it must be noted that Google is not using separate indexing for the mobile-first indexing approach. It will use only one index and is making amendments in that index only. 

Now you might be wondering how all this is going to affect your online business? 

Read below to find an elaborate and definite answer to this question.

How mobile-first indexing affects SEO?

With each passing day, the field of web and online business are undergoing development. So if you are not updated with the latest developments, your business might slip into oblivion. Hence, you must get accustomed to the new indexing method of Google. If the mobile version of your website is entirely different from the desktop version, then you might see a dip in your Google rankings. 

The solution to this is to optimize your website and find common touchdowns where both the desktop and mobile versions can be merged. Also, the responsiveness of your website plays a vital role here. If your website is responsive and fast on desktop devices only then you need to rework on your code and make it responsive for the mobile devices also. 

The next touchdown is website appearance. The mobile and desktop versions of your website must share the same structure of the data and content presented to the user. This does not mean that both the desktop and mobile versions must be exactly alike, but they must reflect each other’s relevance. 

How your site is affected by this?

If you are a website owner, here are the few pointers you need to keep in mind to understand how the mobile-first indexing approach changes the playfield for your website business. If you have a website that is,

  • Desktop only

If your website does not have a mobile version, then there is no problem. The mobile indexing will gather the data from the desktop version and display it as it is on mobile devices. 

  • Responsive web design

If your website is responsive in design, then there is nothing for you to worry about. These websites adapt themselves according to the viewports and accommodate the data according to the screen sizes. Mobile-first indexing will not falter the rankings of such sites.

  • Canonical AMP

If all your pages are created in AMP HTML, then also you can relax. These websites are not usually affected by the mobile-first indexing approach.

  • Separate URLs

This is implemented on websites that have a separate mobile version. The URL for their mobile version usually starts with m, followed by the site URL. The most famous example is facebook. Mobile-first indexing will inevitably affect such websites. To stay ahead of the competitors, apply the best mobile SEO practices.

  • Dynamic serving

Dynamic serving is when you present your content differently to each of the visitors based on their devices. The visitors, however, visit the same URL only. Mobile-first indexing will pick the mobile version of dynamic serving websites. So the mobile version of these websites must be optimized according to the mobile devices.

  • AMP and Non-AMP

If your website has both AMP and non-AMP versions, then the website visitors will see two different URLs. Google will prioritize the mobile version of the non-AMP website. 

Now you know the schematics of the mobile-first indexing approach. Now we must focus on how to use this knowledge to get the maximum benefits for our website.

Best Practices For Dynamic Serving and Separate URLs

We all know that websites with dynamic serving and separate URLs are the ones that will be most affected by the new indexing approach. 

  • Content relevance

By content relevance, we refer to the similarity of the content that is present on the desktop and mobile versions of your website. Make sure that there are not many notable differences in both the versions of your website. 

  • Structured content

The next pointer that you need to pay attention to is the structure of your content. The content of your website might be the same across different versions of your website, but if it is not structured accordingly, then also your website’s ranking will be hampered by the new indexing approach of Google.

  • Metadata 

The metadata, titles, and meta descriptions of the content on your website must be the same in both the versions of your website.

Apart from these pointers, you must also conduct thorough testing of your website and see what kind of elements and metadata your website contains. Check for broken links, create as much mobile-optimized content as possible, and use responsive design for your website.


So that was all you needed to know about the latest advancement in the indexing approach of Google. The virtual world is changing at a rapid speed, and Google is the torchbearer of this change.

For the time being, Google has prioritized mobile devices and is working to improve the mobile web user experience. Stick to this column for more updates regarding the possible future advancements in this field. 

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