To mobile or not to mobile
The move was first thrown out there back in 2016 when Google told the world it wanted to leverage phone-optimised versions of websites to index pages in its search results.
The move to mobile-first comes from the increasing trend of way more people utilising their phones for what we call "first Search" to browse and search the web, for products services and information.
From our investigations, we have found that some sites have significantly different versions of content for mobile and desktop browsers, with the mobile version of the site being a watered-down copy of the desktop version.
Mobile-first indexing means that Google will use the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking purposes, to better help mobile users find what they are looking for.
Google did mention and insisted that it will only use the mobile index in displaying the best search results, but will prioritise mobile-friendly sites over there desktop versions. It emphasised that the index only would change how content is collected and not how it will be ranked.
Google also confirmed that fears that desktop content will be removed from the index are just not going to happen, or that mobile sites that are not included in the initial rollout would be at any disadvantage when compared to first joiners. Moreover, at the end of the day, if a desktop site is more relevant to someone's search over a mobile alternative, it will be included in their search results.
Google will always select sites that follow best practices for mobile-first indexing and will feedback any advise through Search Console. Site owners should notice increased visits from Googles Smartphone Googlebot.
Google did assure everyone that it will continuously evaluate the content in its index to determine how mobile-friendly sites are performing based on best practices. Moreover, it will still prefer mobile versions of websites over Google’s fast-loading AMP pages in indexing.
Google has always pushed hard for mobile-optimised sites, boosting the rank of mobile-friendly pages on Googles search results in 2015. Last January, Google announced that page loading speed would also be a ranking factor for mobile searches and slow pages will be down-ranked starting July 2018.