PSA: Google Will Still Index Sites That Are Not Mobile-Friendly

PSA: Google Will Still Index Sites That Are Not Mobile-Friendly

Mobile Phone Google Colors

There has been a tremendous amount of confusion around the news that Google will stop indexing sites that are completely inaccessible via a mobile phone after July 5th. Google will index sites that are not mobile-friendly – period. But if your site won’t load at all on a mobile device, it just doesn’t load period, then Google won’t index it.

Why? Because Google is fully switching to using its Googlebot Mobile user agent, and if you block that mobile user agent, which looks like an Android mobile phone, Google won’t be able to see your site at all and won’t index it.

It does not mean that if you do not have a mobile interface or if your not mobile-friendly, that Google won’t index it. Google will index desktop only sites, assuming that site does load on a mobile phone.

This is what I said in my original coverage but I see tons of confusion from people saying Google won’t index sites that are not mobile-friendly – that is simply not true.

Gary Illyes from Google posted this on LinkedIn yesterday:

Your site can still get indexed in Google Search after July 5, even if it’s not mobile friendly.

It’s been always the case that if googlebot can’t access a site at all (I.e. network or http error), the site couldn’t get indexed in Google Search. This will continue to be the case. The difference after July 5 will be that the site will need to be accessible to the smartphone user agent of googlebot. Whether the site is mobile friendly or not is irrelevant in this case, though it would be nice if it was mobile friendly.

John Mueller of Google posted this on LinkedIn yesterday:

Mobile indexing is unrelated to mobile-friendliness. A site can be mobile-unfriendly and be indexed completely fine.

The number of sites that can’t be indexed by mobile smartphone Googlebot is super-tiny (I’m not sure what “super-tiny” technically means, is that a lot of tiny? It’s just very little. Like a very small number. Not just a small font size). If Search Console works for your site, and if you can use Inspect URL for one of your site’s pages, you can move on to the next exciting activity! Or! You can have an absolutely fantastic day.

To an extent, I understand the worries – mobile “friendliness” is the topic that people talked about a lot in the past decade, so it’s easy to assume that it’s related. That said, we’ve been writing about mobile indexing for such a long time (even the title of the post refers to that), … :-). Anyway! Soon it’ll be done!

John also commented on Reddit saying:

It’s not about mobile-friendliness. Old-school, table-based websites are totally fine. It’s only a problem if the site does things like block all mobile users with “you must use a real computer” pages — and let’s be real, how often have you run into that in the last years?

It’s also not a ranking thing – it’s about what can or cannot be indexed. Mobile-friendliness doesn’t play a role at all. I can’t imagine any site made or updated in the past 5’ish years would be affected. I’d be really surprised if anyone in these subreddits had a site that they cared about which falls into this category – and if so, just copy & paste it into a new CMS and move on.

Got it?

Forum discussion at LinkedIn.

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