Google spoke about the problems encountered by sites during mobile-first indexing

In a new video Lightning Talks, Google employee Martin Splitt outlined the main problems faced by site owners in mobile-first indexing and gave tips on how to avoid these problems. 

According to Splitt, the most common problems with mobile-first indexing can be divided into two categories.

1. Problems with mobile crawling

When mobile Googlebot crawls the site version, problems may occur. For example, the server may process the request differently depending on the user-agent, and it may be difficult to send the request to mobile pages. As a result, Google will get almost no information from the pages and will not be able to get signals to display the pages in search.

2. Problems with the content on the mobile version

Problems may also be related to the content, especially if the site has mobile pages whose content differs from the content on the desktop version. When Google gets less information from a page, it can’t adequately determine relevance. As a result, the site does not occupy high positions in the search results.

How to avoid problems

Splitt gave some tips on how to avoid problems with the transition to mobile-first indexing. 
  • Don’t block Googlebot with the Disallow directive in robots.txt.
  • Don’t use meta noindex tags.
  • Don’t prevent Googlebot from crawling mobile CSS.
  • Do not prevent Googlebot from following internal links.
  • Check server operation. It should handle as many desktop scans as mobile scans.
  • Make sure that the content displayed on mobile devices is identical to the content displayed on desktops. If site owners intentionally hide certain content on the mobile version, problems can arise.
  • Avoid using the «Learn More» button to reveal visible content. Googlebot does not interact with page elements and can only crawl what is immediately visible.
  • If Googlebot sees little content, the page will rank poorly. 
  • Content in mobile and desktop versions must be identical. This means that even structured data and meta descriptions must match. 

As a reminder, earlier John Mueller gave some advice on how to prepare for mobile-first indexing.

Source: Search Engine Journal
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