Important Change in Google Indexing Starting July 5, 2024

13 June 2024News, SEO

Starting July 5, 2024, Google will implement a significant change in how it indexes and ranks websites. Websites that are not accessible on mobile devices will no longer be indexed, meaning they will no longer appear in Google search results. This change marks the completion of Google’s mobile-first indexing initiative, launched in 2016.

What is mobile-first indexing?

Mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking, instead of the desktop version. This initiative was introduced in 2016 in response to the growing popularity of mobile internet usage. Nowadays, most users visit websites via their mobile devices, and Google wants to ensure that search results are relevant and useful for these users. John Mueller of Google announced that most websites are already being crawled with the Googlebot Smartphone, but after July 5, 2024, Google will crawl all websites exclusively with this mobile bot. This means that if a site is not accessible via a mobile device, it will no longer be indexed.

Why is mobile accessibility important?

Mobile accessibility significantly improves the user experience. Websites that do not function well on mobile devices can cause frustration for users, leading to a higher bounce rate and less engagement. Additionally, a website that is not mobile accessible will no longer be included in Google search results. This can have a significant impact on the visibility and traffic of the site. Mueller clarified that if the content of a site is not accessible on a mobile device, it will no longer be indexable, even if the desktop version works well.

Percentage of internet traffic via mobile devices

As of June 2024, people using mobile devices contribute to 61.35% of all website traffic. This shows that a significant portion of internet users access websites via their mobile devices. According to DataReportal, 96.3% of internet users worldwide use a mobile phone to go online at least part of the time. Mobile phones now account for a large portion of internet usage.

What does this mean for website owners?

For most website owners, this change will likely have little impact, as most websites are already optimized for mobile devices. For those who still have an outdated or non-mobile-friendly site, it is essential to adapt it as soon as possible.

What can you do to ensure your site is mobile accessible?

  • Implement responsive design: Ensure that the layout of the website automatically adjusts to the screen size of the device.
  • Test with Google Search Console: Use the URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console to check if the site renders well on mobile devices.
  • Optimize loading speed: Ensure the site loads quickly by optimizing images, using caching, and minimizing unnecessary scripts.
  • Improve navigation: Ensure the site’s navigation is simple and intuitive on mobile devices, with large buttons and clear menus.

Will Googlebot desktop still be used?

Although Google will primarily switch to the Googlebot Smartphone, the Googlebot Desktop will still be used for certain tasks, such as product listings and Google for Jobs. This means you may still see activity from the Googlebot Desktop in your server logs and reporting tools.

Tips to check if your site meets Google’s mobile requirements:

  • Use the Google Mobile-Friendly test: Google offers a handy tool called the Mobile-Friendly Test. This allows you to check if the website is mobile-friendly.
  • Check your site in Google Search Console: Use the URL Inspection tool to see how pages render on mobile devices.
  • Implement responsive design: Ensure the website automatically adjusts to different screen sizes.
  • Optimize your site’s loading speed: Use compressed images and modern formats like WebP, browser caching, minimize CSS and JavaScript, and use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  • Improve navigation and user experience: Ensure large, clear buttons, simple navigation, and readable text that is large enough to read without zooming.
  • Test your website on different devices: Manually testing on various mobile devices gives a better picture of the user experience.
  • Monitor your server logs for Googlebot activity: Keep an eye on your server logs to see which bots are crawling your site.
  • Stay updated on best practices: SEO and web design are constantly evolving. Stay updated on the latest best practices and guidelines from Google by regularly reading their blogs.

Meeting mobile requirements

By following these steps, you can ensure that your website meets Google’s mobile requirements and performs optimally in search results. This will not only help maintain visibility but also provide a better user experience for visitors. Good luck!

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