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Google warns that sites that don’t work on mobile won’t be indexed

Google Desktop Indexing dead

Google said it will no longer index sites that are inaccessible on mobile devices after July 5, 2024. “If your site’s content is not accessible at all with a mobile device, it will no longer be indexable,” wrote John Mueller.

To be clear, this means that if your site doesn’t load at all on a mobile phone, such as an Android phone, Google won’t index it. It doesn’t mean that if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, Google won’t index it; Google will do that. Google indexes desktop interfaces of sites, as long as the desktop interface is loaded on an Android mobile phone.

There is a lot of confusion on the internet about this at the moment. SEOs say that sites that are not mobile friendly will not be indexed. That is not true.

Google called this the “final final step” of its migration to a mobile-first index for Google Search. Google started the Google Mobile First Index seven and a half years ago. Google said last October that mobile first indexing was complete, but I guess this really wasn’t the case – until maybe now?

John wrote: “The small group of sites we still crawl with desktop Googlebot will also be crawled with mobile Googlebot after July 5, 2024.”

He added:

As we mentioned in our last update on mobile indexing, Google crawls and indexes almost all websites using a smartphone crawler. Over the years, the number of sites that are not mobile accessible has continued to decrease. To simplify our systems and make it easier for sites to troubleshoot device type issues, we will soon be crawling all sites for Search with the Googlebot Smartphone Crawler.

Most of the Internet is already crawled this way, and there is no change in crawling these sites. After July 5, 2024, we will only crawl and index these sites with Googlebot Smartphone. If your site’s content is not accessible at all on a mobile device, it is no longer indexable.

But is the transition to mobile-first indexing fully complete? No. Google said they will still “sometimes” use Googlebot Desktop when searching for product listings and Google for Jobs. Google wrote: “You may still find Googlebot Desktop in your server logs and reports. For example, in addition to a few other search functions, Googlebot Desktop is sometimes used when crawling for product listings and Google for Jobs.”

So we’re almost done.

The upside is that if you know of a site that won’t load at all on a mobile device, it likely won’t be indexed by Google after July 5, 2024.

So if you don’t want mobile devices on your site and you block these users, you’re out of luck…

Forum discussion at X.