Blog

You Can Not Opt In or Out of “Mobile First Indexing”

It has been announced that Google will not be allowing publishers to opt into or out of mobile first indexing.  John Mueller announced on the latest edition of #AskGoogleWebmaster

The question was as follows:

 “Is there any plan to eventually let webmasters tell Google they want to be included in the mobile-first index or at least considered for inclusion? Some non-responsive sites might believe their mobile site is more SEO-friendly than the desktop site,” user @DanielM35110466 asked via Twitter.

The answer. “With the longer-term goal of moving all sites over to mobile-first indexing, we don’t plan to provide an opt-in or opt-out for this kind of indexing,” Mueller responded.

Mobile first indexing was originally announced in November 2016, yet its has not made its way across the web to every website. 

Mueller, explained “At the moment, we’re algorithmically testing to see when sites are ready and switching them over once that’s the case. To determine when a site is ready, we compare the mobile and the desktop versions to make sure that we’re still able to find all of the content, including structured data and images.”

“Mobile-first indexing is separate from mobile friendliness,” he also clarified. “Even sites that don’t have a mobile version at all can be indexed fine with the mobile Googlebot. Our goal is to use the mobile-first indexing for all websites in our search results.”

Why we should be bothered: 

Not being able to opt into or out of mobile-first indexing means that we do not get to decide the conditions in which our sites are crawled and indexed, which obviously reflects the reality that we don’t get to choose what devices our visitors are using to access our sites.

Since Google’s goal is to use mobile-first indexing across the entire board, publishers need to be ensuring that their mobile sites provide a slick user experience and that they’re allowing mobile visitors to access everything that desktop users can. This isn’t just important because Google prioritizes it — most users are now browsing via smartphones, and having a mobile-optimized site means you’re able to cater to the majority.