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Mobile First Index Inclusion and Implications

     
9:57 am on Sep 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Long-time lurker checking in here so, firstly - thanks to everyone for your contributions!

It's been mentioned that sites moved to the MFI have seen increased (mobile) Googlebot activity beforehand. The past few days (starting around the 17th) our main site's been absolutely hammered by G's bots with mobile UAs - 10x as many pages being crawled as usual (many, many thousands).

For those of you with sites already in the Mobile First Index...

- How soon after the Googlebot surge did you get your Mobile First notification messages?
- Any significant changes in ranks or traffic (that you'd consider beyond the usual variations) since?

We've been responsive for a couple of years so hoping any changes will be positive... fingers crossed!
12:05 pm on Sept 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just happened to me last week (I got the notification) and Googlebot hammered my site like yours the week before that so probably within 4 to 5 days you will get the notice after Google bot goes back to normal.

To early to say with traffic especially since we got hit 2 weeks ago by the Google algorithm.
5:21 pm on Sept 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Got hammered on two sites, one with 250k pages and other with 38k pages. Googlebot traffic is back to normal now, but only got the mobile index notice on the smaller site.
5:36 pm on Sept 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I haven't seen any difference. I had one site included months ago and one just last week.
2:38 pm on Sept 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just got included on the 19th...on the 19th search traffic dropped 20% and has been lower since. But it's really too early to tell. Placement in SEMrush has unchanged so far
5:51 pm on Sept 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm with NickMNS. No obvious effects for better or for worse. We've seen steady increases in mobile at the expense of desktop, but that was happening long before Google introduced its "mobile first" index.
7:12 pm on Sept 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks all. No message received yet, but the crawl surge has continued - think I need to bill Google for the bandwidth... they must have taken every page a couple of times by now... and it's a big site.
7:42 pm on Sept 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hello wavingdave and welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com]

3 sites reindexed within a couple months and I saw little difference since the sites were responsive for a couple years and the content is the same for all devices, just the presentation changes.

That's what Google suggeseted to do so that's how we did it.
8:23 pm on Sept 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My approval came in on 2018 Sept 20 for a couple of sites. Yay from Google, but what does it actually mean for search rank? I've been responsive for years.

[edited by: TorontoBoy at 8:40 pm (utc) on Sep 23, 2018]

8:38 pm on Sept 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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what does it actually mean for search rank?
It means your site is now ranked on the merits of the mobile version. If there is no current mobile version, your desktop version will continue to be ranked for this new index (at least for a while.)

Related discussion: Mobile-First Index [webmasterworld.com]
8:00 am on Sept 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I currently have two sites notified - I did have three before switching them all over to https (which means a different site in GSC and, I suppose, a reset in the Mobile-First classification).

The sites are all responsive, not with separate mobile version or AMP, and not blazingly fast (although they do mostly follow 'good practices').

Site #1 - average GSC mobile position is top 10, average desktop position is outside top 20, average CTR is better with mobile but not stunning on either
Site #2 - average GSC mobile position is just outside top 5, average desktop position is within top 20, average CTR (<1%) is junk on both

Re the most recent change: site #2 was not one of the original three and is not a particularly obvious target to switch (it is relatively new and I have other more popular sites with more visitors and much higher ctr).
About 6 weeks before the notification there was a substantial jump in impressions (double) both on desktop and mobile and a related immediate decline in CTR (remember this is CTR from the search results).
The jump came from visitors from the second- and third-ranked countries of origin, made up, as far as I can see, from a rise in mobile rankings into the top 5 search results. The site is related to (and hosted in) the second-ranked country but not relevant to most mobile users in that country. The site is not related to (and not hosted in) the third-ranked country but would be particularly relevant to users from that country.
(The #1 country is the USA which saw very little change in rankings or CTR. It does seem to have some fairly wild swings in impressions from US desktop users but this may be due to office-based searches versus home searches.)
9:17 am on Sept 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It means your site is now ranked on the merits of the mobile version.


Is this a daft question?

Is there an actual Google site where one can test the mobile SERPs?

For me testing mobile results seems to vary depending whether I am using Android, IOS or Windows.

If so, why is that?, Why deliver different SERPs, surely that means using unnecessary extra resources?
9:27 am on Sept 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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For me testing mobile results seems to vary depending whether I am using Android, IOS or Windows.
If so, why is that?, Why deliver different SERPs

Because Google had collected and compiled tremendous amount of data over the years. And from their analysis it's certainly showing that user of a mobile Windows, has a different profile and interactions, than a user of IOS or Android. Just look at those buying iPhones, and those taking an Android phone, you can see they are not the same kind of users. Google is certainly also delivering different SERPs based on the time of the day for the same reason.
9:56 am on Sept 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar - Each person gets a different search result, albeit sometimes subtle.

AI returns search results using many metrics: your intent, search terms you used, search terms you've previously used, which results you've clicked through to, bounce rate, whether you are signed in, your previous search history, web pages you visited, your location, your browser, your OS, your IP, etc.

How all this is put together remains a mystery.
10:08 am on Sept 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@RedBar - Each person gets a different search result, albeit sometimes subtle.

AI returns search results using many metrics: your intent, search terms you used, search terms you've previously used, which results you've clicked through to, bounce rate, whether you are signed in, your previous search history, web pages you visited, your location, your browser, your OS, your IP, etc.

How all this is put together remains a mystery.

Which is why when one reads all the people posting about how they are rising or falling in the "update"threads..and the ( usually "self proclaimed" , or proclaimed by their SEO friends ) "SEO "experts" hinting that they know what to do to make one #1 in SERPs for a keyword..

One cannot help but smile ;)
10:45 am on Sept 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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AI returns search results using many metrics


Ok, I get that however another question, how does Google profile me?

Any time I search, I am never logged-in, my cache is clear, no history yet they have my location, OS and IP, how do they treat me? Basically as a new user therefore I am getting their "cleanest" and most current results or are they just best guessing since, theoretically, they shouldn't know anything about me?

And from their analysis it's certainly showing that user of a mobile Windows, has a different profile and interactions, than a user of IOS or Android. [


Hmmm ... I primarily use Windows phones however I also do a lot of testing with Android and IOS and always use the same parameters when doing my tests and, yes, they do quite often deliver different results for the same query.

Surely this is a massive presumptuousness and manipulation on Google's side? I know for a fact that the way I use my Windows phone is completely different to many other Win users ... Or am I in a "club" Google chooses to deliberately ignore since they can't profile me?

Yes, I did realise that this has been going on for years but why is it some two+ years later of the so-called mobile index, that Google has still not managed to "complete" it?

Or is it 3+ years now?
7:21 pm on Sept 24, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I received an email that my main site was in the mobile index a month or so ago. Two more sites received notifications a week or so ago.

No noticeable change at all. But then again, I wouldn't expect it because the mobile and desktop versions are almost the same content.
1:31 pm on Sept 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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We also received the mobile first email. Our content is the same mobile and desktop.

If some are submitting mobile optimised sites and ranking better because of it that causes us an issue, because, 90%+ of our visitors (B2B Technical) are desktop users and it looks likely to remain that way.
10:10 am on Sept 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Still no notification for us. I nearly posted yesterday to report that the Mobile G Bot surge appeared to be over but they're back again this morning. Got the sleeves rolled up fixing and redirecting (very) old URLs now being reported as broken or "Soft 404" in the Smartphone section of GSC.
No significant ranking changes that we can detect so far, but there's just no way that rankings can be unaffected by this; our indexed page count has gone up 20% over the last week and G must have a much fresher snapshot of all our pages now, thanks to the crazy crawl rate.
10:31 am on Sept 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As I mentioned somewhere else, I received the notification earlier this month, and since, traffic is in constant increase, especially from mobile devices, but also from desktop (and so does incomes)
6:45 pm on Sept 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Traffic have grown rapidly from mobile devices
2:03 pm on Oct 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have seen a 20% drop in traffic after getting the Mobile First index notice a week ago. Only difference between two sites is an additional hamburger menu on the mobile version, while the desktop version has another menu system (which is still there but visibly hidden on mobile). Hoping that the drop is temporary. Anyone see a dip in traffic and then restoration? How long did it take.
2:09 am on Oct 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Keep In mind that although you may have a responsive site, site speed is measured differently for mobile. So my thought is that desktop traffic could suffer from mobile one, if the mobile speed test fails, even if you got a good rating on your desktop speed.
2:29 am on Oct 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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No noticeable change at all. But then again, I wouldn't expect it because the mobile and desktop versions are almost the same content.
Exactly. If done correctly, there shouldn't be any change.

Your mobile site should contain the same content as your desktop site. The only thing that would be any different would be navigation and possibly some images that do not adjust to size very well. If you use ads, the placement may vary.