Back in 2016, Google announced that it had “begun experiments” to make their index mobile-first.

The upshot of this for marketers and web developers is that only the content shown on the mobile version of your website will be used for indexing and ranking on Google.

Today, Google only indexes only the mobile version of most websites and all new websites receive mobile-first indexing by default.

Should you care? Well, that depends. Here’s what Google has to say:

  • If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
  • If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.

In other words, if the desktop version of your website shows different content than your mobile version, that desktop content doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ranking.

The good news for those of you that aren’t ready for mobile-first indexing is that Google is giving you a little extra time to whip your site into smartphone shape before moving all sites to mobile-first in March of 2021.

So, how do you know if you’re receiving mobile-first indexing? Easy peasy. Use the URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console to see which bot is crawling your pages.

google mobile-first index

The URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console shows that this page received mobile-first indexing.

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