In September this year, Google was preparing a significant change for how search works, at least as far as websites were concerned, shifting to a mobile-first system for indexing of sites and ranking content.
That plan is still on, but it has been pushed out a few months. Instead of September this year, Google will be making the switch in March of 2021.
The company confirmed as much in a blog post on its webmasters site, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has made things more difficult for website owners and content creators.
“Our initial plan was to enable mobile-first indexing for all sites in Search in September 2020. We realize that in these uncertain times, it’s not always easy to focus on work as otherwise, so we’ve decided to extend the timeframe to the end of March 2021. At that time, we’re planning on switching our indexing over to mobile-first indexing,” the company explained.
For those websites which have not optimised for mobile-first yet, Google has also made additional information available, highlighting which elements to prioritise between now and March next year.
As such, those creating content online should ensure that it is as easy as possible for the Googlebot to pick up and index.
This switch to mobile-first is a long time coming, with Google first announcing its plan to focus on content that was smartphone-specific back in 2016. Over the past year, the company has already begun indexing new sites based on how mobile friendly they were and whether a mobile-first optimisation is in place.
Come March 2021, it will become the de facto method to ensure your content indexes well.[Image – Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash]