Why Google Is Moving Non-Mobile Friendly Sites To Google's Mobile First Indexing

May 2, 2018 • 8:23 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

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This week we reported how Google began sending out notices of sites moving to the mobile-first indexing process as part of the second batch of those sites it is rolling out to.

But with this batch, people are confused as to why some of the sites getting these notices are not mobile-friendly and smaller, less maintained sites. Why is Google moving over non-mobile friendly web sites to the mobile-first indexing process? The answer is pretty simple, if you think about it.

Desktop only sites are a single site, there is no problem with the desktop site not being equivalent to the mobile site - they are one site and thus, they have zero issues and are a good candidate for being switched to mobile-first indexing. Being mobile-friendly is not a requirement for moving to the mobile-first indexing process - they are two different things.

Yes, Google said they will not move sites that are not ready, but Google has a single index not a mobile vs desktop index, it is one index. We know the mobile first indexing will crawl desktop only site - that is something Google has said for a while. So those trying to avoid the mobile-first indexing by not being mobile-friendly makes zero sense, as we said before.

I asked John Mueller of Google about this at the 6:20 mark in yesterday's webmaster hangout and John explained "desktop only is essentially kind of a unique form of a responsive design, right? It's like the same design on mobile and on desktop so I I could certainly see our algorithms saying well nothing breaks when we switch the site over to mobile indexing, so might as well do it."

John added, "it's not that we're specifically looking for sites that aren't mobile-friendly. It's it's really just that this is probably one of the safe bets to start with and that's that's what we picked there to start with." "Mobile first indexing is not mobile-friendly indexing," John added. "So it's not related to whether or not a site is mobile-friendly. It's really just the indexing part that's switching over to mobile and the friendliness aspect is something that's still a ranking factor in the mobile search results but it's independent of their indexing," he explained.

Here is the video embed at the start time:

Here is the full transcript:

Barry Schwartz:

What's going out right now with the mobile first indexing is that second batch, you kind of reference at Brighton SEO.

It seems like a lot of people who said they got these notifications from Google Search Console are saying specifically that those are first websites that either are kind of like not their primary websites or they're like desktop only. It's not what they expected to see in terms of the first sites would be moved over.

I guess maybe, correct me if I am wrong. maybe desktop only web sites are being moved over first because there's no alternative. There's no problem with them having two different versions and so forth and making sure the links are equal between the two the website and so forth.

Is that correct?

John Mueller:

Well desktop only is essentially kind of a unique form of a responsive design, right? It's like the same design on mobile and on desktop so I I could certainly see our algorithms saying well nothing breaks when we switch the site over to mobile indexing, so might as well do it.

So it's not that we're specifically looking for sites that aren't mobile-friendly. It's it's really just that this is probably one of the safe bets to start with and that's that's what we picked there to start with.

And I think one of the the other tricky aspects there is that we're sending these messages more or less in batches. On the one hand to double-check that the messages work in the sense that people understand them, that we don't see a lot of confusion around them. And that's something where maybe the first batch of messages happen to hit sites like that, and the next batch kind of hits hits a broader group of sites.

That’s, I kind of expect some, I don't know, let's see how can say it, some like non non patterns to be there and in the first batch of matches. Because it's like such a small group of messages it's the the sites that you'll hear about are probably just like all over the place.

It's not that we're looking for something that's desktop only. It's essentially the these are responsive sites. So it's they they're responsive in the sense that the mobile view is the same as the desktop view and you have to kind of pinch and zoom and scroll around to get all of the content. But it's the same content it works well on desktop and on mobile, more or less.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the mobile first indexing is not mobile-friendly indexing. So it's not related to whether or not a site is mobile-friendly. It's really just the indexing part that's switching over to mobile and the friendliness aspect is something that's still a ranking factor in the mobile search results but it's independent of their indexing.

Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums and Google+.

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