As announced last month, Google is officially making its first step towards the launch of mobile-first indexing with the test of its mobile-first search index.

The company confirmed the testing has officially started via its company blog:

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”

This means in the future Google will increasingly prioritize crawling the mobile versions of a site’s content, rather than treating desktop as the “main” version of your site.

The company also gave some quick tips to help you make the most of this change as it is happening:

  • If you have a responsive site with identical content across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
  • If you have a site where the primary content and markup is not identical across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
  • Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
  • Google recommends using the Structured Data Testing Tool to verify the equivalence of structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output.
  • When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
  • Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
  • Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links.
  • If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
  • If you only have a desktop site, Google will continue to index your desktop site just fine.
  • If you are building a mobile version of your site, do not launch it until it’s ready. Google says: “a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site.”
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