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In response to a Reddit thread, Google’s John Mueller said that a mobile-first indexing website is not always ready for mobile-first indexing.
He said that Google looks at certain criteria before shifting a website towards mobile-first index.
Furthermore, he also mentioned that no website could neither opt-out of this type of indexing nor be forced into it.
Google determines whether a website should be indexed using desktop or smartphone crawlers.
Which websites are shifted to mobile-first indexing?
So, if website owners have no control over their website being indexed by desktop or mobile crawlers, how can one ensure their website is moved to a mobile-first index? Short answer: You cannot. However, any website created after July 1, 2019, is indexed using Googlebot smartphone.
Therefore, if your website is fairly new, it will be indexed using a mobile-first index. According to Google, new websites created are typically ready for mobile crawling.
Identical content on all platforms
When the mobile-first index was introduced, there was a big emphasis on providing similar mobile and desktop experiences.
Therefore, one of the most important factors that determine the type of indexing used is:
A website should show identical content on its desktop and mobile versions.
However, this criterion is not set in stone. Google’s algorithms are rather strict and conservative at times.
They can hold back mobile-first indexing even if minor disparities are found. For example, if a mobile version of a website does not have the same number of related items linked on the bottom of a page as its desktop counterpart, it will not be shifted towards a mobile-first index.
However, Mueller also said that this is a minor content difference, so it will not affect your website’s ranking in any way.