Google: Make Your Site Work On Mobile Or We Won’t Index It

Google is putting websites on notice, saying it will convert fully to the mobile version of Googlebot in July 2024....
Google: Make Your Site Work On Mobile Or We Won’t Index It
Written by Matt Milano
  • Google is putting websites on notice, saying it will convert fully to the mobile version of Googlebot in July 2024.

    Google has been emphasizing mobile-first design for years, even utilizing the mobile version of its Gooblebot web crawler for the majority of the sites it indexes. However, there was a small percentage of sites that were still being crawled by the desktop version of Googlebot.

    According to John Mueller, Search Advocate, Google Switzerland, the company will move fully to the mobile version after July 5, 2024:

    We’re embarking on our final last step (that’s the plan!) of our migration to a mobile-first index for Google Search: the small set of sites we’ve still been crawling with desktop Googlebot will be crawled with mobile Googlebot after July 5, 2024. Don’t worry, most websites don’t need to do anything!

    As we mentioned in our last update on mobile indexing, Google crawls and indexes almost all websites using a smartphone crawler. Over the years, the number of sites that aren’t accessible on mobile has continued to shrink. To simplify our systems, and to make it easier for sites to debug issues related to device types, we’ll soon crawl all sites for Search with the Googlebot Smartphone crawler.

    Mueller makes clear it clear that sites that are not accessible via smartphone will no longer be indexed after the deadline:

    The largest part of the web is already being crawled like this, and there is no change in crawling for these sites. After July 5, 2024, we’ll crawl and index these sites with only Googlebot Smartphone. If your site’s content is not accessible at all with a mobile device, it will no longer be indexable.

    There are a number of things site owners can do to ensure their site is prepared for the change:

    1) Use a responsive design or layout. A responsive layout is designed to adapt to the size of the screen it is being viewed on. This means the site will look good and function correctly on everything from a cramped smartphone screen to a 4K desktop monitor.

    2) Ditch the popups. Popups may have been the thing to do in the 20th century, but it’s time to get with the program and ditch the archaic—not to mention annoying—design element. In the context of mobile-first, getting rid of popups is important since they don’t play nice with smartphone real estate.

    3) Focus on speed. Not all smartphone users have 5G internet access, and even the ones that do don’t have it all the time. Countless surveys and studies have shown that smartphone users have little patience for slow-loading sites, with ones that load fast converting far more users.

    4) Test finger-based navigation. Given that smartphone users often use their devices one-handed, a mobile-first design must adapt to allow easy one-handed navigation. Even if visitors use both hands to navigate, menus, buttons, and other interface elements must be placed in a way that is conducive to finger-based navigation, instead of keyboard and mouse.

    5) Use Google’s Lighthouse tool on your website. Google’s Lighthouse tool can help identify issues with a site, giving developers a clear path to address them.

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