Jul 29 2019

New Google Search Console Mobile First Indexing Features

Posted by Kate Santos , ,

Google Search Console – formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools – has been a resource that’s valuable for the digital marketing industry and the services they offer. Business owners, marketing professionals, app developers, business owners, and SEO companies have utilised this tool to gather all the necessary information about their website.

Anyone involved with search engine marketing in Singapore can use this tool as long as they have a registered account and a verified website. This account is the main communication channel between Google and the individual site owners and having it verified proves ownership and authorised usage. Through these, webmasters can receive any information regarding their sites like errors, issues, and even penalties.

Apart from this, Google search console also functions as a control centre where you can continually and consistently improve your content, enhance your website, and reduce issues and errors. Additionally, it offers tools that are helpful in the day-to-day management of your website.

 

Google Search Console Major Features

  • Search Analytics

This is one of the most popular features of GSC as it reveals a lot regarding how to acquire organic traffic from Google. Furthermore, it also offers essential search metrics from a website that contains rankings, clicks, and impressions.

  • Crawl Errors

This feature helps prevent problems related to the crawl section by consistently checking crawl error report.

  • HTML Improvements

Problems like duplicate content, missing metadata, under and over optimised metadata and more can be easily identified with this feature.

  • Fetch as Google

This tool helps ensure that all web pages are search engine friendly and play a part in analysing URLs for verification purposes. Apart from this, it also helps in communicating with search bots, indicating whether the site is getting blocked by coding errors or not being crawled, and finding out if a certain page can be indexed or not.

  • Sitemaps & Robots.txt Tester

XML sitemap is utilised to help search engines like Google to better comprehend websites while crawling robots. On the other hand, Robots.txt is a text file that trains search engine bots what to crawl and not to crawl. Furthermore, this file reveals which URLs are disallowed or blocked by robots.txt.

 

What is Mobile-First Indexing?

Traditionally, Google’s ranking, crawling, and indexing systems have used the desktop version of a web page’s content. This was a problem for mobile searchers since the desktop version is immensely different as compared to a website’s mobile version.

To rectify the situation, Google set up Mobile-First Indexing (MFI) which allowed the mobile version of a website to be the most relevant one. Furthermore, it was also stated that all rankings, whether it’s mobile or desktop, will be based on the information it collects from a mobile crawl. Having said this, mobile-first indexing is about how content is gathered rather than how it is ranked.

 

What You Need to Know About MFI

In light of what was mentioned above, it is important for every SEM agency in Singapore to keep in mind these three essential factors regarding this feature:

  • Mobile-first is inevitable.

Google came up with a projection that the average adult would spend almost two and a half hours per day on their mobile devices. That means that a large part of online users were the ones on their mobiles. With the number still increasing, Google took the initiative to prioritise these users.

  • Content that is not identical between desktop and mobile. 

Content that is on the desktop site, but not on the mobile site won’t affect a website’s ranking even if it was done on desktop searches.

  • Single index only.

Google aimed to utilise one index only and not have two separate indexing for mobile and desktop sites.

 

Google Search Console and Mobile-First Indexing

Google announced last month that they have made a few changes on its search console to give webmasters and SEOs a better understanding of how Google is indexing their company websites. To be more specific, they can now see when and if their website has been switched to mobile-first indexing or not.

  • Indexing crawler details

Under the property settings, Google can now indicate if a site is being indexed by Googlebot Desktop or Googlebot smartphone. Additionally, if Googlebot smartphone is being used, it will show exactly when it was switched from desktop to smartphone crawling.

  • Chart annotations

Within various charts, Google will also reveal when the website was moved to mobile-first indexing from desktop indexing.

  • Useragent for individual reports

Google shows the useragent, which is being utilised for reporting within the search console’s various reports if it is Googlebot desktop and Googlebot smartphone.

These data are a key factor to help developers, SEOs, or any SEM company offering digital marketing services in Singapore to have a clear understanding when a site is moved from desktop to mobile indexing. It helps determine any crawling or indexing issues and find out if any rankings altered after the switch because the exact date of the switch is indicated.


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