On Wednesday June 26, 2019 Google announced on their official twitter feed dedicated to Web Masters that they were making some significant changes to the Google Search Console. These new changes are intended to make it easier for webmasters and SEO pros to determine how their sites are being indexed. What’s more, in the case that Google switches a particular site to mobile-first indexing, the site admins will be able to see this clearly.
What is Mobile First Indexing
Mobile First Indexing is a new website crawling system that -as the name quite rightly suggests- is now focused on simulating the behaviour of smartphone/tablet users, as opposed to laptop/desktop PC users and then indexed accordingly.
In other words, the world’s most popular and most widely used search engine has decided to change its priorities. As of right now and moving forward, Google will place more value upon a website’s mobile version than its desktop version, and will then position the site in relevant search results according to the user experience of the same.
This is to say that in addition to the quality of the site’s content, the web crawler is designed to also look for loading speed and overall usability of the mobile version. Thus, webmasters who have been slow to adopt responsive design (which is hard to believe in 2019, but there are some slowpokes and dawdlers out there) will be penalised by Google’s SEO algorithms for not taking a mobile first approach.
With this important and significant paradigm shift from desktop to mobile in mind, here is a short run-down of what changes to look for in the new Google search console.
Index Crawler Details
If you go to the settings tab for a property, you will now see which Googlebot is currently indexing your site—the Googlebot Smartphone or the Googlebot Desktop. Of course, over the coming months all sites will eventually be switched over to the former.
What’s more, once your site is being indexed by Googlebot Smartphone, you will also be able to see the precise date that it switched over from Googlebot Desktop.
Useragent for Each Report
You can also now see which of the two bots Google is using to generate reports for the site. You can see this at the top right of the Google Search Console by opening up the primary crawler tab.
The various charts are also clearly annotated to reflect when the change was made from desktop to mobile first indexing