Without A Mobile Version, Google Will Stop Indexing Websites In March 2021
Mobile-first indexing means Google mainly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing & ranking. Since most users now have access to Google search with a mobile device, Googlebot initially crawls with the help of a Smartphone agent & moves the index pages forward.
Now, Google will only index websites that are compatible with mobile browsers by March 2021. This has been confirmed by Google SEO expert John Mueller
, who insisted that all non-mobile-friendly web pages will be removed from the search engine index.
Any new websites launched after July 2019 have automatically moved to the mobile-first index, but some existing sites have not yet been moved to.
In 2018, Google introduced its first mobile-first index algorithm, which uses the mobile version of a web page to determine the position of a page & not the desktop version of it, to this day. It means all pages adapted for mobile browsing are positioned better.
As a matter of fact, since September 2020, the mobile version of the pages has been prioritized in searches, but starting in March 2021, one more step will be taken. With a new announcement from Google's PubCon Pro Virtual 2020
, the company will remove from its index web pages that do not support mobile browsing, as well as all images & related files they contain.
Though Google has not provided any official information on why this proposition is made, the truth is that it will affect web pages that have not been updated in a long time and may therefore be devoid. Contrariwise, they will also affect many websites of official bodies, which tend to have moldy designs & almost always, without a functional mobile version.
Regarding this, John Mueller
has warned that sites with mobile versions hosted in 'm-dot' type subdomains, those with mobile versions hosted in 'm.domain.com' subdomains, & those that contain 'hreflang' characteristics, a tag created to tell Google what content to index when a web page contains subdomains e.g., for several versions of the same page in other languages, they can undergo bugs or problems, specifically when they do not direct traffic right away to the mobile version of the web page.
The company hopes that this time given to users will be enough to adapt their web pages, for more than five months, as from March 2021, all desktop-only content will vanish from their search results.
Digital Piloto, February 7, 2021