Google will be indexing all NEW websites for mobile-first starting July 1, 2019. Start building your sites for mobile and not desktop.
Google announced that starting July 1, they will index all new using Google’s default mobile-first indexing. This means website designers and developers should develop sites for mobile first and then worry about desktop.
This should not surprise companies and agencies in the industry; Google has been talking about this since 2015. Should a company’s sites not be developed or built with mobile-first in mind, it could impact their Google search rankings.
This push for mobile-first indexing and SEO Web Development comes after mobile and smartphone usage increased and surpassed desktop usage in recent years. Site visitors on mobile devices stood at 58% in 2018, according to US traffic monitoring agency SimilarWeb.
It seems tablet and desktop usage is falling behind that of mobile. More people have access to internet through mobile devices, especially in third-world and developing countries. This offers a unique opportunity for any SEO agency to develop SEO-focused websites in upcoming markets such as Nigeria, India, Russia, and Kenya.
South Africa shows similar increases in mobile usage over the years, with over 20 million smartphone users in 2013 alone, according to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). They also noted the following statistics about global access:
The figures indicate a clear direction for web development: mobile-first. The focus of designers and developers must turn away from pushing out desktop or tablet-first websites and towards mobile-first sites unless the site is specifically designed for that medium’s use.
All entities in the website development process should be adapted for smooth and functional mobile-first usage, with user experience and user interface at the forefront of development. UX and UI developers who opted for desktop will also need to adapt for mobile-first.
Will Older Websites Be Indexed?
Google made it clear that mobile-first indexing will only happen on new websites that haven’t been indexed before, and websites that are already mobile-first. Older websites designed for Desktop will be indexed as usual and won’t change. It is, however, advisable to update older websites for use on new platforms. UX and UI on desktop is different for mobile, with smaller screens limiting space. Content and Graphic Design also require a rethink.
Will I Know If My Site Is Being Moved?
Google stated that they would notify all existing websites requiring mobile-first indexing. Notifications won’t be sent to new websites published after 1 July, however, as they will already need to be optimised for mobile. Notifications are sent out via Google Search Console.
Our teams are already developing mobile-first websites, and we will encourage all new partners to focus on having their websites developed for mobile and not only desktop. Our social media, graphic design, newsletters and emailers are all also mobile-first.
All information contained in this article was accurate at the time of publishing. Information regarding the topic or any information obtained from sources is subject to change without the notice of this article.