Google has updated its best practice on mobile-first indexing with a substantial amount of additional information. The document has been designed to enable site owners to ensure that they are offering the best possible experience to users while accessing the website on a mobile or desktop.
Using the Wayback Machine, experts like Matt Southern compared an archived version of Google’s mobile-first indexing practices with the existing version to find out what has changed. Before discussing the changes, one thing which is worth stating is that the information isn’t exactly new. It includes advice, best practices and recommendations which Google has offered over the years. Now, all these details have been included in the developer document for easy reference.
What Information Has Been Added to Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Best Practices?
Google isn’t exaggerating when it mentions that a ‘’ significant’’ amount of new content has been included in the best practices document. It emphasizes on the fact that websites should be offering an identical experience on both desktop and mobile.
Make sure that Google can access and deliver mobile and desktop page content and resources.
- Ensure that mobile and desktop sites have structured data.
- Utilizing the same meta robots tags on both mobile and desktop site.
- Ensuring that the mobile site contains the same content as the desktop site.
What should you do if the content is not the same on mobile and desktop?
If website owners intentionally serve less content on a mobile page in comparison to a desktop page, Google has warned that some traffic loss may happen.
Things To Consider for Images & Videos
The information in the above section is mainly related to textual content. Google’s updated mobile-first indexing best practices say the following about images and videos:
- Offer high-quality images.
- Don’t utilize images which are too small or have a low resolution on low resolution on the mobile site.
- Ensure that the mobile site has the same alt for images and the desktop site.
- Don’t use URLs which change each time the page loads for images and/or videos.
- Place videos in a position which can be easily found while viewing on a mobile device.
- Utilize the same descriptive titles, captions, filenames and text relevant to the images & videos on the mobile site and desktop site.
Considerations for Separate M-Dot URLs
Google has included the following additional best practices for
- Ensure that the error page status is the same on both desktop and mobile sites.
- Ensure that the desktop versions which serve various contents have equivalent mobile versions.
- Ensure that there are no fragmented URLs in your mobile version.
Google has added a lengthy new section on troubleshooting the most common errors which can prevent sites from being disabled for mobile-first indexing. Here is a sample of what is included in the new troubleshooting section:
For a complete set of troubleshooting details, see the updated best practices document of Google.