Google announces Mobile First Indexing, what it means for your website

Gary Illyes from Google today announced Mobile First Indexing at this years Pubcon in Las Vegas. The search giant told conference attendees of the they will start indexing mobile versions of websites instead of the desktop versions currently used.

According to Illyes as a result of the switch, there are some rankings signals that will get lost between the desktop and mobile switch, he didn’t elaborate on what those signals where, although during the Q&A he did suggest that these signals would typically be links and structured data in scenarios where users have separate websites for desktop and mobile.

Google Announces Mobile First Indexing, Are you Safe?

Will your site be affected by Mobile First Indexing?

Sites built using Responsive Web Design

If your website is build using Responsive Web Design (RWD), then you should be fine as effectively you are displaying the same website content on both desktop and mobile devices.

However, you may want to check for any content that is being hidden at your various breakpoints as it seems likely that if this isn’t visible on mobile and tablet devices that Google will ignore the hidden content within the Mobile Index.

Sites build using Adaptive Web Design (eg or

For sites with separate versions for desktop and mobile, you are going to be affected. You really need to start looking at the mobile version of your website as you are almost certainly going to have separate content on both versions and if you mobile version isn’t up so scratch then you are in trouble.

NB: At Graphitas we currently have a separate mobile site. We are currently building a new site which uses responsive web design …  that has just been moved to the high priority list!!

What do we know about the update?

  • The desktop index will still be maintained, but will be only used as a back up
  • The desktop index will be updated less frequently
  • Some ranking signals will be lost between the switch, although likely this will only affect websites with separate mobile and desktop websites
  • Its happening so users better be ready!!

How long before it goes live?

Illyes was not prepared to give a timeframe on when the algorithm change will go live Historically Google’s gives site owners and developers ample time to prepare for such updates so at a guess it is unlikely we will see this change until at least Q2 in 2017 in my opinion.

Feel free to reach out…

If you are concerned about this update or just want a bit of information, feel free to drop me a tweet.


This blog post will be updated with further information…

MD of Graphitas. Passionate about design, webdesign & marketing.

Regular speaker at search/marketing events & occasional guest columnist for SEOmoz, .NetMag and others

Justin Taylor – who has written posts on Graphitas Blog.

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