A Simple Way to Find if Mobile-first Indexing is Enabled for Your Site

Hey! You might be reading it on your smartphone. And if you’re not, your phone or tablet is just beside you. How do I know? Mine is always with me as well.

This is the story our time: we are all dependable on our smartphones and spend lots of time online on them.

What is Mobile-first Indexing?

This means that Google will use mobile versions of the websites for indexing and ranking.

Traditionally, a desktop version was used. And even now it’s much easier to analyze desktop websites since many tools are configured that way.

But with the growing popularity of mobile devices and time we spend browsing the Internet on them, it makes total sense for Google to make sure websites are mobile-friendly.

Now we are still in a transition period, and some sites have already been moved to mobile-first indexing while others are using desktop versions as primary ones for indexing and ranking.

I like how Danny Sullivan from Google explains it in his tweet:


So How to Find Out if Your Website is on Mobile-First Indexing?

Google Search Console notifications

Google sends notifications to websites once mobile-first indexing is enabled for them. So just check the messages in your Google Search Console. Here is an example of such a notification:


Recently Google has started to send batch notifications for multiple websites under a single GSC account, so you might receive a little bit different message.

Google Search Console Inspection Tool

The idea behind this is to see from which device Google visits your website. You can find it in the Inspection Tool in Google Search Console.

So this website has already been moved to mobile-first indexing as it’s crawled by Googlebot smartphone:


And this means that mobile-first indexing hasn’t been enabled, the website is crawled by Googlebot desktop:


How to Enable Mobile-first Indexing

You can’t enable it yourself. You will have to wait for Google to do this for you. It will happen eventually, I promise 🙂

What if My Website is Not Mobile-friendly?

What are you waiting for? It’s 2019 already!

No matter if your website is ready or not, it will still be moved to mobile-first indexing.

Mobile-first indexing and mobile-friendliness are different concepts. And if your website still has usability or speed problems on mobile devices, I would advise prioritizing this. Nobody likes slow websites and pages that can hardly be read on a smartphone.  Do you?

Ok, I’m in. What’s Next?

Make sure that you provide Googlebot smartphone with all the information that your desktop version has. That is:

  • You canonical and hreflang tags are pointing to the right pages
  • You don’t restrict crawling or indexing
  • You’re not hiding any text or links
  • You have schema markup added
  • Your mobile site is added to Google Search Console.

Most of the problems are eliminated if you’re using responsive design. It’s much harder with separate mobile subdomains. But you can cope with that too 🙂

Note that if you get alerts that some of your pages are not mobile-friendly, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not. Check the pages with this Google tool and see what it says.

To Sum It Up

Embrace the changes and let your website provide seamless user experience on mobile devices. Mobile-friendliness is not going anywhere. So you’d better be ready for it.