Google has officially completed its mobile-first indexing initiative, a journey that spanned over seven years, as confirmed by John Mueller in a recent blog post.
The initiative, launched over 6.5 years ago, involved Google crawling and indexing websites from the perspective of a mobile browser. Originally introduced in November 2016, mobile-first indexing became a significant aspect of Google’s search results by December 2018, with half of all sites adopting this approach.
Despite initially setting deadlines, Google eventually removed them, emphasising the importance of prioritising mobile-first indexing for SEO. In early March 2020, Google announced a September 2020 deadline for all sites to transition to mobile-first indexing, but later extended it to March 2021 in July 2020. However, in May, Google announced that the transition was essentially complete, creating some confusion around the recent declaration of being “done.”
Google clarified that only a few sites, unable to function on mobile devices due to errors or specific blocking configurations, remain unresolved. For such cases, Google will persist in crawling these sites using the legacy desktop Googlebot crawler temporarily, with periodic reassessments.
As part of the completion, Google disclosed its intention to reduce crawling with the legacy desktop Googlebot and disable indexing crawler information in Google Search Console’s settings page. This change reflects Google’s focus on primarily crawling mobile-friendly websites.
In summary, Google’s mobile-first indexing initiative has reached its conclusion, marking a historic milestone. The company will continue its efforts to refine crawling strategies, aligning with the mobile-first approach that is now the standard.
Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.