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Clarifications to Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

There has been some confusion as Google begins rolling out their mobile-first indexing to an increasing number of sites, and as the search giant has seen the confusion within the industry, they have clarified a number of different points via Twitter.

URLs with mobile-first indexing

If you utilize different URLs for your mobile site as compared to your desktop site, Google will begin showing the mobile searchers your mobile URL and the desktop users will see your desktop URL. In both instances, the indexed content will be the mobile version of the site, even if Google is displaying the desktop URL. Sites with a single URL for both mobile and desktop needn’t worry about this.

Crawling changes

Google has stated that the crawl count per day won’t change, but the balance will shift to favor mobile pages during crawling. Google may also increase crawling when re-indexing a website to mobile-first.

Cache bug

There is a bug with the Google cache that when a site is moved over to mobile-first indexing, the Google cache link may not return anything and can 404 or show a blank page. Google is currently working on fixing this and it has zero impact on indexing or ranking.

Mobile user interface concessions

There has been confusion over the use of hamburger menus or other methods of making content less overwhelming on a mobile display, and Google has clarified that using these methods is perfectly acceptable.

Mobile-friendliness not required

Your site does not have to be mobile-friendly or responsive to be included in Google’s mobile-first indexing. The first sites to move to this method were in fact desktop-only sites.

No ranking boost

Making the switch to mobile-first indexing will not better your Google search ranking. Being mobile-friendly is a ranking factor on mobile, but it is unrelated to the mobile-first index.

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