Google Was Targeting March 2021 for Mobile Indexing
Way back in the middle of the year of our Lord, 2020, Google announced is was going to launch mobile first indexing in March 2021.
What that meant was, sites that were mobile friendly, responsive or mobile designed were going to give preference over desktop only sites. Google would look index the websites, keywords, and other ranking factors.
But the target date kept pushing further and further into 2021, and recently Google announced it was cancelling… not postponing,.. mobile first indexing.
Mobile-First Index : Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.
Why Cancel Mobile First Indexing?
There are many suspected reasons, but Google wrote “after analyzing the sites that are not yet indexed mobile-first, we’ve determined that some of these sites are still not ready to be shifted over due to various, unexpected challenges that they’re facing. Because of these difficulties, we’ve decided to leave the timeline open for the last steps of mobile-first indexing.”Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
Google has been hinting at mobile first indexing for about five years, so it’s mind-blowing it’s not done. But when you look at the scope of the project, currently slightly less than 2 billion websites, I guess it’s not completely out of the question. But there has to be a deeper reason that some one-page hand built websites are dragging their feet.
Why I Suspect The Project Was Cancelled
I have two reasons why I think Google canceled their mobile first indexing project.
The pandemic shifted our device use for searching Google.
In 2019 and back, many of us were sitting at our desks during the day on company-owned computers, and used our mobile devices to search for personal items or personal business. When COVID-19 forced many people to work remotely, we started searching from our personal laptops or company provided computers from our home networks, which meant there was a bit more leniency on non-work related searches. Because of this maYour content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.ny websites started to see a reduction in mobile traffic.Below is a comment I posted on a Tweet from Lily Ray (@lilyraynyc), a respected SEO expert.
Thought the same thing when I read this last week. Rather than sitting at work surfing the web on phones everyone was sitting at home on laptops and that doesnt seem to be on the verge of changing back.
— Marv Dorner (@bebizzy) November 30, 2021
Government and Financial Website Were Not Ready
Google said they canceled the move because some websites just weren’t ready. While there is no hard evidence, my guess is that some government websites, along with some financial and banking systems just hadn’t been made mobile ready and prepared for the search. The only organizations with enough pull to stop Google from doing anything would most likely be ones of this sort.Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
Both of these organization types are very slow to adapt new technology, both for the size of the organizations, and security. In fact, some of the only websites that work better on Internet Explorer are government websites, and until recently they were some of the few still using Flash, along with some news sites. So it makes sense that these would be the types of websites holding up the project, with enough weight to slow down or stop it.
Do I Need To Build or Move My Website To Mobile First?
Well, the answer is technically, no. As long as it’s usable on mobile devices, or you just don’t get that much traffic from phones or tablets, your SEO meta data is set up correctly, you have good content and the page structure is good, you should still see good results from Google searches.
However, a majority of websites are currently seeing their organic traffic is coming from phones, iPads and other mobile devices. Consumer-facing sites and some B2B sites are seeing traffic over 50% mobile. If that’s the case, or you’re building a new website, I suggest building a responsive website to better serve that traffic, or to get ahead before Google attempts to launch mobile first indexing again.
If you need help making your website responsive,some help with search engine optimization, or need a new site, feel free to contact BeBizzy Consulting.
What are your thoughts on why Google canceled the mobile first indexing project? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!