The Main Reasons Why Google Is Delaying Mobile-First Indexing Rollout Until 2021

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Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Rollout Pushed Back to Early Next Year

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Here’s why Google is pushing their mobile-first indexing rollout back eight months and how you can use this extra time to your advantage!

 

Google has announced that their mobile-first indexing rollout won’t happen in September, as previously planned. They’ve delayed the rollout by eight additional months. Below, we’ll go over why this is happening and how to avoid ranking disruptions once mobile indexing is in place.

• About Mobile-first Indexing

Mobile-first indexing ranks sites based on their mobile versions as opposed to their website and site content. This mobile-optimized indexing is how Google makes sure that mobile devices don’t have as many issues with browsing internet content. Some devices, (especially those by Android) have had web content accessibility problems in recent years.

How Mobile-first Indexing Works

Mobile-first indexing will help Google’s Googlebot website crawler more efficiently index a website’s mobile version, as opposed to its (usually larger) default desktop website. Essentially, Google Search uses this indexing to rank and show most results based on only the data that their bots and algorithms have gathered. This will come from mobile-optimized websites.

Most Sites Are Already Optimized for Mobile By Default

Most sites are currently set to mobile and already have their indexing set to by mobile default. However, mobile-first indexing would’ve become Google Search’s default by September 2020. Developers and designers will now have more time to prepare and optimize for mobile. Eight extra months to be exact.

Top 5 Issues To Watch for With Mobile-first Indexing

 

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To be fair, Google did announce that they’d be switching to mobile back in 2016. So, most developers have had plenty of time to prepare for these changes already. However, Google has listed some important issues that you’ll want to avoid with mobile-first indexing. Using these next eight months to optimize your content for mobile and make sure you won’t have any problems is a good idea.

  1. Make Sure That Blocked Assets are Specific to Mobile Devices

We are talking about the mobile assets (fonts, CSS, JavaScript, images, videos, and so on) that might be called from another URL than from the desktop version. Inadvertently blocking something like JavaScript on your mobile version will cause a mobile ranking drop. You’ll want to make sure to avoid these issues.

  1. Ensure That Primary Content Syncs and Matches With Mobile and Desktop Content When publishers change their content, they are required to show the same “primary” content between the web and mobile versions. Primary content means your main page content. This is the content that you want to have ranked or the reason users visit your website.
  2. Optimize Mobile Images and Videos With Best Practice Suggestions

Mobile version images and videos are reportedly a huge source of problems. To avoid these issues, Google recommends:

  • Use Different Image URLs for Mobile
  • Apply Video Structured Data Markup
  • Optimize Video and Image Placement
  • ensure That Images are Optimized for Mobile
  • Know Image Alt Attributes
  1. Checking Mobile Robots and Tags

Check your mobile robots meta tags, look for differences.

  1. Trigger-related Lazy-loading on Mobile Versions

You’ll want to watch out for lazy-loading primary content that depends on triggers. GoogleBot doesn’t trigger user-initiated events, so keep that in mind.

 

So Why the Delay? COVID-19 Has Impacted the Mobile-first Index Rollout Timeline

One of the main reasons for this hold up has to do with the current COVID-19 Pandemic.

While Google’s mobile-first indexing was originally scheduled to rollout in September of 2020, that’s no longer the game-plan. Google has scheduled an eight-month delay, so the rollout probably won’t take place until May 2021, which gives everyone plenty enough time to get their mobile site up to par.

 

{UPDATE} Mobile-first indexing will now launch in March 2021. We recommend that you use this time to make sure your site doesn’t have any mobile issues.

 

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