Marketing 3 min read

How to Avoid the Most Common Mobile-First Indexing Issues

Photo Mix / Pixabay.com

Photo Mix / Pixabay.com

In a recent Lightning Talks episode, Google's Martin Splitt discussed the most common issues that site owners may experience with mobile-first indexing.

A few weeks ago, Google announced that it would delay the mobile-first indexing switch until next year.

The search giant pointed out that the delay is due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the lockdowns have resulted in uncertain times. As a result, it decided to extend the timeframe till the end of March.

Be that as it may, Google has been working to prepare site owners for the switch over.

First, the tech company suggested ways to prepare for mobile-first indexing in a document. Now, the latest instalment of Google’s Lightning Talks has taken it a step further.

Developer advocate at Google, Martin Splitt discussed the top issues that site owners run into with mobile-first indexing. Here are some of them.

Common Mobile-First Indexing Issues, According to Google

Martin Splitt divided the problems related to mobile-first indexing into two categories. These are mobile crawling issues and mobile page content issues.

Mobile Crawling Issues

Google can experience issues with mobile crawling. In other words, anything can go wrong when crawling with the mobile version of Googlebot.

For example, the server can treat the request differently based on the user agent. In other cases, an error might occur when requesting the mobile pages.

Issues with mobile crawling will prevent Google from accessing a page’s information. As a result, the search engine won’t have the signals required to show the pages in search results.

Mobile Page Content Issues

Besides mobile crawling, a page’s content can also cause problems with mobile-first indexing.

This is especially true the content on a site’s mobile version is different from the desktop. As such, the search engine bot would receive less information about a page’s relevance.

The mobile page content issues could prevent Google from indexing the page in search results. In the best case, the site might experience a significant decline in organic traffic.

How to Avoid these Mobile-First Indexing Issues

One way to avoid these issues is to ensure that Google can conveniently crawl your mobile pages.

That means you shouldn’t block Googlebot from crawling mobile CSS or from following internal links. Also, don’t use a “Disallow” directive in robots.txt to block the search engine crawlers. Likewise, don’t use noindex meta tags.

Finally, site owners should consider checking their server’s crawl capacity. In a perfect world, your server should handle as many desktops crawls as mobile crawls.

Read More: Google Search Console’s API Infrastructure Gets an Update

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