Google Mobile First Indexing has begun for some websites in Google SERPs. It may be a small number, but if you see a big difference in rankings for your site, it could be that your website is part of that test batch. Google Webmaster Central Blog first mentioned that there was a Google mobile first index in development back in November, 2016. If you have not already updated your website to be mobile friendly, then now is the best time to be mobile friendly. Google hasn’t stated when the official Google Mobile First Index is rolling out 100%, but a small percentage is being tested in Google organic SERPs. This was confirmed with a video conversation between Barry Schwartz and John Mueller in a Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout on October 17, 2017.
It is unclear when Google will be rolling out the Mobile First Index, but we can be assured that it will be done very soon. We could see it as early as next year in January 2018 – April 2018. Again, if you have not started upgrading your website to be mobile friendly, then you should consider having a meeting with your team and talking about how to upgrade your site with mobile capabilities.
The two types of mobile sites that will be indexed by Google for the Mobile First Index are a responsive site and a dynamic serving site. It is important to note that the content and markup needs to be the same across the board for both desktop and mobile versions of the site. If you have an m-dot site (m.example.com), then we recommend upgrading to a responsive site design. Make sure you have structured markup on both the desktop and mobile websites. If you need to test and verify your site for structured markup, review site speed and check if the site is mobile friendly, then check out these mobile test tools.
If you are curious to see how your website’s pages will rank in the Google Mobile First Index, then we can use the Google Search Console to get a preview of how they will rank. Below are steps to preview how your desktop vs mobile devices rank in Google for Average Position.
Below is a sample of a client that has a responsive website design. We have configured Google Search Console with the same instructions above, and the data output is as follows:
This site is configured with a responsive website design and should see gains in organic search visibility and traffic when a Google Mobile First Index is rolled out. Although this is just an example of the current rankings, the actual Google algorithm update rolling out could have different results (positive or negative). If you are mobile friendly with optimization and best practices put in place, then your site should have traffic gains when the Google Mobile First Index is 100% in effect.