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Google postpones transition to mobile-first indexing until March 2021

22 July 2020, Wednesday By M. Konwar
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Google has postponed the transition to mobile-first indexing until the end of March 2021. The company announced this in its blog:

Mobile-first indexing has been an ongoing effort of Google for several years. We've enabled mobile-first indexing for most currently crawled sites, and enabled it by default for all the new sites. Our initial plan was to enable mobile-first indexing for all sites in Search in September 2020. We realize that in these uncertain times, it's not always easy to focus on work as otherwise, so we've decided to extend the timeframe to the end of March 2021.

Google listed in a blog the problems that it found in sites that were not translated to the mobile index, and gave some tips.

Make sure that Googlebot can see your content.


Google recommends that you ensure that Googlebot can see all content and resources on the mobile site. You need to check if the mobile version uses the same meta tags as the desktop one. If, for example, noindex is used in the mobile version, but not in the desktop version, then after switching to the mobile-first index, Google may not index the content.

Google also advises avoiding "lazy" loading of the main content, which is associated with user actions (for example, swiping, clicking, or typing). Googlebot does not index content related to user activity. For example, you can have 10 images on the desktop version of the page, and only 2. The rest are downloaded from the server when the user clicks on the "+" button. Googlebot will not click this button and will not see these images, therefore, it will not index them or display them in Google Images.

mobile-first

In addition, Google advises making sure site owners are not blocking resources with robots.txt. Inadvertently blocking CSS file URLs can negatively impact rankings.

  • Make sure that you have the same content on the mobile and desktop versions. 
  • Check the images and videos.

Do not use images that are too small or of poor quality. Specify the Alt attributes. If you use the VideoObject micro-tag for videos for the desktop version, make sure that the mobile version also includes VideoObject with similar information.

Place videos and images in a convenient location for viewing from mobile devices, Google advises.

You can read more about the recommendations and see examples in the Google blog.

Recall that according to Google's initial plans, all sites were supposed to be switched to mobile-first indexing by September 2020.
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