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Google Mobile First index rolling out slowly/ being tested for some sites

     
9:03 pm on Oct 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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< split off from the Oct Google Updates and SERPs Changes thread>

System: The following 4 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4870905.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 3:14 pm on Oct 27, 2017 (PDT -8)


I haven't seen any reference in this discussion to yesterday's announcement that the Mobile First index is being tested and has rolled out for some sites...

Google’s mobile-first index has rolled out for some sites & will be implemented very slowly
Barry Schwartz on October 26, 2017
[searchengineland.com...]

Gary Illyes from Google would not give us any timelines, but the rollout of the mobile-first index is going well, and a blog post about the process should be out soon.

The mobile-first index has started to slowly roll out, at least for a “few sites,” Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes told an audience last night at the SMX East conference in New York City.

It is unclear how many sites have already switched over to the mobile-first indexing process, but, when I asked Illyes to clarify what he meant by “a few sites,” he said a few relative to the Google index. So that could be quite a large number of websites....

This is going to be a very slow process, but is it possible that what some are reporting here might be related tremors?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:30 pm (utc) on Oct 27, 2017]

1:11 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I believe Google has only started adding sites to its mobile-first index that it has confirmed are 100% identical for both mobile and desktop. They've said they're trying to roll this out with as little impact as possible, and that only "a few" sites have been added so far.

My traffic was down last night and this morning, but seems to have mostly recovered within the past couple of hours. There's plenty of other reasons why traffic fluctuates, and just because everyone's talking about the mobile-first index these days doesn't mean we should assume it has anything do with it.
1:38 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Just wanted to make sure... all of my sites are on WordPress and they are mobile-friendly (I don't have .m or special theme for mobile, the theme adapts to mobile, tablet and desktop), the UI is perfect and I have green scores in ThinkWithGoogle Page test and GTMetrix, am I okay with Mobile First Indexing guidelines?
1:52 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParmar My site is also on WordPress and uses a responsive design. All content is 100% identical for both mobile and desktop. The only thing I hide for mobile users is ads, which Google isn't going to care about. We should be fine. It's only sites that hide content for mobile users that need to worry.
3:07 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Checking my SERPs rankings I seem to be ok however I have never seen such low traffic even for a Sunday. I'm 66% of the way into my Googleday yet I'm not at 30% of average traffic and to put this into perspective this is 13.7% of Xmas Day!

This does not bode well.
3:25 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Traffic has definitely been off over the past 12 hours. If (IF) this is because of the mobile-first index, and my site is exactly the type of site that Google claims should not be impacted by it, then this does not bode well at all. Of course, there's no way of knowing the cause. Maybe everyone's at Halloween parties this weekend. Who knows..
3:48 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar, same thing here. All keywords I track are in within normal range as far as position on both mobile and desktop, but traffic is *WAY* down. I cannot for the life of me figure out where I've lost it and it's driving me a bit mad.
4:29 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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but traffic is *WAY* down.


That's "good" in that the sheer weight of members here it is inevitable that some of us will see an "effect" whereas others may not see anything for days if at all.

Now precisely why we are seeing this when keywords seem to be ranking ok is another question altogether and why long-established responsive sites are experiencing it, well, I have no idea since nothing was supposed to happen to them!
4:45 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone ever experienced some of their KWs just completely vanishing (not simply dropping in ranking) from the SERPs? OR has anyone experienced their KWs completely vanishing and ranking somewhere far under the wrong URL parameter (not the primary canonical)?
4:47 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think the 'Above the fold' algorithm will extensively play in effect for the mobile-first ranking assessment. I believe John Mueller has addressed the "above the fold" alogrythm multiple times, just not 'directly' for mobile-first but it would make sense it would.
5:28 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone ever experienced some of their KWs just completely vanishing (not simply dropping in ranking) from the SERPs?


Yep, I had an entire site disappear apart from the about.html page. It had been ranking #1 for about 15 years, went AWOL for maybe 6 weeks or so and then re-appeared as though nothing had ever happened.

Needless to say I did not make any changes whatsoever because I hadn't a clue as to why it went on "holiday" ... Nothing ever goes wrong with their results, does it!
5:40 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar – Thanks for that. Did your URLs contain any parameters/paginations? Did you also migrate to HTTPs ?
8:17 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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There was absolutely nothing wrong with the site whatsoever, it was already on https, it simply completely disappeared for a few weeks earlier this year, on its return everything went back to normal, very bizarre.
8:21 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar – Yeah, very strange. I'm assuming as a result you experienced a temporary drop in traffic? Also, was it for all KWs or just certain variations of a KW and were all the URLs properly indexed if you performed a site:example.com search?
8:22 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm up by 6.7% from the same day last week. I don't know if it's the mobile rollout, switching to https last week, or on site improvements. It's nice to report something positive for a change.

I hope things settle down for you all.
9:04 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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were all the URLs properly indexed if you performed a site:example.com search?


Nope, everything disappeared except for the about.html page, images, even legal, privacy and cookie pages, the lot, all organic traffic went with it.
9:14 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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With a couple of hours to go of my Googleday so far ALL my sites are down a minimum 50% v October daily average, some 60-70-80% plus one 15 year old site is down 100%, yep, it has had absolutely ZERO PVs today.

What is also interesting is that spam is also down by a huge margin as well ... Am I actually connected to this Interwebby thing any more?
9:19 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Just a quick observation about the state of flux: I am seeing sites that have not been updated since the late 1990s appear high up in the fluctuating SERPS - sites that I remember competing against 15 years ago, but haven't seen for many years.

I am seeing different result sets depending on which proxy I use, and I'm seeing big movements.

I should also add, that despite seeing my sites dropping in the results, my traffic is looking good today.
10:21 pm on Oct 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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We see what looks like a rollback after the last three days of volatility.

Not convinced at all that the changes we have seen are only because of mobile index first.

The reason I say this is that we saw our sites that get 80% of their traffic and are super-optimised for mobile display the same volatility as sites that are not.

Also saw what looked like stronger brand signals, which have now dropped back again.
12:56 am on Oct 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I have no traffic, period, all my sites are DEAD.
1:05 am on Oct 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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All of them? Are you sure it's not a server issue, or a reporting issue? Seems highly unlikely that mobile-first indexing would have caused it. My traffic was down earlier today but has since recovered.
1:38 am on Oct 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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All my sites are up and running normally.

Unfortunately I always see this GoogleCrap before anyone else simply because of my early-days G involvement.

It looks as though we may have returned to "The Dance" :-)

Whoopie Doo!
9:13 am on Oct 30, 2017 (gmt 0)

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At least one of the result sets that I was commenting on was changed because of Google's changes to local search, so maybe not as a wild a swing as I'd previously thought:
[webmasterworld.com...]
12:23 pm on Oct 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar how big has been your drop? I mean you have gone to ZERO from how many... 100K PV/day, 10K, 100?
12:43 pm on Oct 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Maybe someone can put some light on my understanding problem. So we run a moblie version (m. ) and a desktop version. All versions ( http, https, www. non-www ) are registered in WMT. So if we check the google index status for the desktop version it says about 8.000 pages are indexed. When we check the mobile index it says about 800 pages are indexed.

Shouldn´t be the desktop and the mobile index count be the same?

So this could be the problem for us, when ( as i think ) google switches between mobile index and desktop index for testing all day long, we see times with 90% less traffic. Switching back to desktop index, the sites traffic is normal.

Someone has the same problem?
1:29 pm on Oct 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I am a forced early adopter of the mobile first ranking. Last month I reached the 60% point for mobile+tablet traffic. Keep in mind while ALOT of effort was put in to the responsiveness of the website, the products we are selling are mostly brought offline or through desktop because they are expensive and as such not everyone is feeling comfortable ordering them through phone/tablet. So this topic is not news for me in the slightest and I thought Google was over and done with this mobile first update push.

Guess I was wrong? (thought I doubt it)
3:19 pm on Oct 31, 2017 (gmt 0)

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the products we are selling are mostly brought offline or through desktop because they are expensive and as such not everyone is feeling comfortable ordering them through phone/tablet.


Likewise and I really do sometimes wonder if anyone at Google actually realises how, in my case, B2B is conducted? No one, absolutely no one in my trade buys via a credit card/PayPal/whatever, it is all inter bank payments with deposits, payment on shipment, possibly staged payments etc, and many of these transactions can be over months and years.

Sure, G may be offering their ideas to the majority of users however why should we be penalised because we're not B2C or local?

Honestly, it is more difficult to source alternative "my widget" products via The Net than it was 20 years ago, those are the extremely poor SERPs I see from G since they are undoubtedly very USA website centric in my industry.
9:40 am on Nov 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Today, my site with responsive design outranked two m. sites with high authority, I'm second while Forbes is first. Great! :D
12:44 pm on Nov 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It is going to be interesting.
My site has 82% desktop users but is responsive and the same content goes to mobile and desktop.
I will be irritated if we are penalised.
2:00 pm on Nov 1, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I will be irritated if we are penalised.

There are no penalties with this. Traffic changes, positive or negative, are not about value judgements, just pure mechanical methodology.
9:54 am on Nov 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Actually there is an issue. The site is responsive and shows the same content to desktop, mobile and tablet users. But adwords says bounce is much higher for mobile than for desktop. Perhaps same content = more scrolling on a mobile.
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