Almost three years ago, Google announced that they had begun experimenting with how they were indexing websites with regard to mobile. This experimentation was due to the majority of people now using mobile devices to search Google.
In the past, many websites had a different mobile version from the desktop version. By making this ranking change, Google was signaling that having two separate sites wasn’t a good user experience for those on a mobile device.
Google encouraged website owners and developers to switch to using responsive websites. Responsive sites generally show the same content to visitors no matter the device you’re using; content is presented appropriately for your screen size.
Since then, mobile-first indexing has not made its way to all websites. However, on July 1, 2019, Google made mobile-first indexing the default for all new websites.
For pre-existing sites, Google will switch to mobile-first indexing when it notices the website is ready. It will also notify owners through Google Search Console when they are. Google determines when a site is ready by comparing the mobile and desktop versions to make sure they’re still able to find all of the content, including structured data and images.
It’s also not possible to choose to opt-out of mobile-first indexing. It’s here to stay and website owners cannot ignore its importance.
Google strongly recommends that all websites are responsive and that everything you can do on your website on a desktop can also be done on a mobile device.
While the current percentage of manufacturing industry website visitors on mobile devices tends to be lower than other industries, and the percentage of leads generated from visitors on mobile devices even lower, manufacturers should not ignore mobile-first indexing.
There are immediate and long-term SEO benefits of having a mobile-friendly responsive website. And, as younger generations join the manufacturing workforce and older generations spend more time on their phones, the percentage will only increase.