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Man making a search on a smartphone.

Mobile-First Indexing Enabled by Default for All Sites Starting July 1, 2019

We all knew this was coming: after years of talk about Google’s index prioritizing mobile-friendly sites, it’s finally happening. As of July 1, 2019, Google’s indexing will be mobile-first for all new websites and domains.

According to Google, this change applies to new websites, not existing pages, so the good news is you don’t need to drastically overhaul your site for this change. Google will watch and evaluate pages for mobile-first indexing as they have in the past for older sites.

There’s more good news: dynamic serving and separate URLs for mobile sites will still be supported. Google does recommend responsive web design for new sites, however.

From Google’s official Webmaster Blog announcement:

“For existing websites we determine their readiness for mobile-first indexing based on parity of content (including text, images, videos, links), structured data, and other meta-data (for example, titles and descriptions, robots meta tags). We recommend double-checking these factors when a website is launched or significantly redesigned.”

Considering how ubiquitous mobile searches are, it’s a bit surprising it’s taken this long for Google to go completely mobile-first.

Google’s comments about this announcement do shed a bit of light on their reasoning. “Our analysis has shown that new websites are generally ready for this method of crawling.” It could simply be that they felt they gave ample notice about this over the years and are ready to make it happen.

Considering the amount of talk and discussion mobile-first has gotten in the SEO community as far back as 2017, it looks like most webmasters have had time to prepare for this.

Is your website built from the ground-up to be mobile-friendly, first and foremost? If you’re planning a redesign between now and July, make sure you get a responsive site that prioritizes mobile UX!