After rolling out the mobile-first index for a few sites, Google has now posted more advice regarding the mobile-first index feature.
Confirming the update, Google said “This process has already started for a handful of sites and is closely being monitored by the search team.”
Previously, the snippets in the results, as well as the content on the Google cache pages were displayed in the desktop version, which frequently caused issues for the mobile searchers. However, now they will be from the mobile version of the pages, and Webmasters will see significantly increased crawling by Smartphone Googlebot.
Here are some tips Gary Illyes from Google posted a few days ago to ensure the site is ready for mobile-first index:
- Make sure the mobile version of the site also has the important, high-quality content. This includes text, images (with alt-attributes), and videos – in the usual crawlable and indexable formats.
- Structured data is important for indexing and search features that users love: it should be both on the mobile and desktop version of the site. Ensure URLs within the structured data are updated to the mobile version on the mobile pages.
- Metadata should be present on both versions of the site. It provides hints about the content on a page for indexing and serving. For example, make sure that titles and meta descriptions are equivalent across both versions of all pages on the site.
- No changes are necessary for interlinking with separate mobile URLs (m.-dot sites). For sites using separate mobile URLs, keep the existing link rel=canonical and link rel=alternate elements between these versions.
- Check hreflang links on separate mobile URLs. When using link rel=hreflang elements for internationalization, link between mobile and desktop URLs separately. Your mobile URLs’ hreflang should point to the other language/region versions on other mobile URLs, and similarly link desktop with other desktop URLs using hreflang link elements there.
- Ensure the servers hosting the site have enough capacity to handle potentially increased crawl rate. This doesn’t affect sites that use responsive web design and dynamic serving, only sites where the mobile version is on a separate host, such as m.example.com.