The Nuances of Mobile-First Indexing:



It isn’t surprising to imagine that the maximum number of internet users currently access the web from their phones. Perhaps if we stop for a moment and take a look around, it will eventually dawn on us that the people we are surrounded by all the time are so often on their phones and not walking around with their desktops hanging from their necks. It must mean something then, isn’t it? What implications does a device have on search rankings and indexing? 

Even if we take that two-thirds of them are on social media at any given point in time, it means that a third of them will be surfing a web page. It is not something new, as a matter of fact. As early as 2016, mobile device traffic had surpassed desktop traffic, and the difference is only on the rise since then, state the professional team of Web Design Agency Columbus Ohio.

According to a study by Statcounter, it was found that in the United States alone, 63% of all online traffic were traced back from smartphones and tablet devices. Thus, mobile-first indexing is nothing but a cumulative response to increasing internet usage on mobile phones as opposed to other devices, contributing to overwhelming mobile device traffic. 

What is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile-First Indexing isn’t as complicated as it sounds. It means that Google will primarily use the mobile version of a page for higher indexing and search engine ranking, as opposed to the desktop version of the page, according to a Website Development Company Columbus.

In the formal announcement by Google said, “Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.” 

Breaking it down, suppose a web page has a desktop version as well as a mobile version. Web Design Columbus Ohio professionals explain that in such a case, Google will deem the mobile version of that page more relevant to the user’s query and automatically foreground it in the ranking list against the desktop version of the same page. 

What about Sites that do not have a Mobile-friendly Version?

Yes, this question will logically follow from what we just discussed about mobile-first indexing. You must be wondering where all those sites vanish whose pages are not optimized for mobile usage? Well, they don’t. 

It’s called the mobile-first index and not the mobile-only index for a reason. If a website does not have a mobile-optimized version, it will still be included in the index. But the site will feature much lower on the search ranking because of its poor mobile user experience. According to a prominent Website Design Company Columbus, a site customized for mobile experience will receive a much better ranking in mobile search and desktop search. 

It is where we come to our next point. Thus, it must have become relatively clear to you by now that mobile-first indexing will not add mobile pages to a separate mobile index. It does not imply that there will now be two different indexes for mobile-friendly pages and desktop-friendly sites. There will be one index only, as it has been so far. The only change is that the modality of indexing or the basis on which content is added to the existing index will undergo changes, with mobile-friendly websites winning sure precedence. 

Responsive Design and Good Development Practice:

So far, web developers have primarily concerned themselves with polishing desktop-friendly web pages compared to mobile-friendly pages. For example, site speed and web design for mobile pages were seriously compromised for the longest time. Desktop designs would not be optimized for mobile usage. As a result, you would not be able to scroll past the map icon you had embedded in your page after careful thought. Or worse, even bloated images would overlap each other resulting in a massive website failure.

Website Development Company Columbus experts iterate that an appropriate response to this would be using responsive design. Responsive design is being used increasingly by web developers because it is being recognized as an indispensable tool to stay relevant in the market. A responsive design means that you would not have to design separate pages for desktop and mobile devices. A responsive design layout will automatically adjust the website content to a variety of devices and screen sizes, whether a broad desktop screen or a tapered smartphone screen. The webpage will be optimized for display in a host of devices by adjusting design layout, image size, etc.

How to Optimize my Site for Mobile-First Indexing?

In building a new site optimized for mobile users or if you already have a responsive layout for your website, here are a few things you should do to get a high ranking according to mobile-first indexing:

  • You must ensure that the mobile version of your site has all the valuable content that distinguishes your desktop web page. Formats used on the mobile version should be indexable.
  • The same structured data markup should be used on both versions of your site-mobile and desktop. 
  • Revise the meta titles and meta descriptions. Make sure that they are equivalent on all pages of both versions.
  • Check your images and optimize them for viewing on mobile screens. Use many of the tools available for free or consult an experienced agency, like Web Design Columbus Ohio, to ease the task for you. 
  • You can run a speed test to ensure that your site loads quickly on mobile devices using tools like Google’s Test My Site Tool.
  • Your web development team should consistently keep a tab on Google Analytics to check how your mobile traffic compares to your desktop traffic. Google Analytics will give you data pertaining to bounce rates and page views, and clicks. If the bounce rate of your mobile traffic is high or the page views are low, you should know you have ample scope to improve your website for mobile-friendly viewing and get to the task immediately. A Website Design Company Columbus is always a wise choice for optimizing your website and getting it indexed appropriately. Hence, they can give you skilled insight on how to go about it.


This overview should help you gather a comprehensive understanding of mobile-first indexing. When this was first rolled out in 2017, very few websites were prepared to make the shift. However, the number of websites optimized for mobile screens has progressively been on the rise since then. Today, mobile surfing is as common as it gets, and google’s mobile-indexing policy is, therefore, something you should absolutely know about, relevant as it is. If you want further guidance on optimizing your website for mobile screens, get in touch with the client-friendly team of Web Design Agency Columbus Ohio.