The introduction of mobile-first indexing was a necessary step towards facilitating smartphone users, who have surpassed desktop users. But, it is not without its wide set of problems. In this article, we are going to talk about these problems.
The most common problems associated with mobile-first indexing fall into two categories. These categories are:
- Mobile crawling issues
- Mobile page content issues
Let’s talk about these issues, and also about how to avoid them.
1. Mobile crawling issues
The mobile version of Googlebot is not much mature, which means that crawling can go wrong in several ways. The problem is mostly related to the lack of compatibility between the server and the user agent. This lack of compatibility prevents pages from sending the right information to Google. It can ultimately lead to a situation where the page in question fails to send necessary signals to Google. As a result, the page doesn’t show up in search results.
2. Mobile page content issues
Many issues are related to the content. For instance, a site may have separate pages for mobile and desktop. When Google doesn’t receive adequate information from a page, it fails to understand the page’s relevance. It prevents Google from ranking that page.
How to avoid these issues
Here is a set of actions that you can do to make sure that Google crawls through your webpages seamlessly.
- Make sure that you have not blocked Googlebot from crawling. You may not want to use the ‘Disallow’ directive in robots.txt in this regard.
- Avoid using noindex Meta tags.
- Make sure that Googlebot crawls through mobile CSS.
- Make sure that Googlebot crawls through internal links.
Moreover, you may want to check your server’s crawl capacity. Ideally, the server should handle as many desktop crawls as mobile crawls.
Mobile page content
The content viewed on mobile should be similar to the content viewed on the desktop. Hiding content for mobile users can cause problems. For instance, some mobile pages may prompt users to tap on “See more” to make the remaining part of the content visible. You will need to avoid it because the content waiting to show up after a tap on the screen is generally not visible to Google bots. The bot will crawl through the immediately visible content. The major chunk of the page content will not come into the light, and Google will not rank the page well. You should be able to avoid issues related to mobile-first indexing by keeping the content identical on mobile and desktop.