Google’s mobile-first search indexing initiative will not go live this fall as previously planned, and is now set to roll out in late March of 2021…
It’s been about four years since mobile search outpaced desktop search back in late 2016. Around that time, Google announced it would build a mobile-first search index. Then, in March of the following year in 2017, the internet giant said it would debut in only a few months. Near the end of the same year, Google started its mobile-first indexing. But, it’s been very slow going and now, Google states it will delay its launch until early next year.
Google Delays its Mobile-First Search Indexing until Next Year
Google says the delay is due to the disruption that’s broken out due to the pandemic and quarantines. Although, it’s far more complicated then just recent events. Historically, when Googlebot crawled the web, it previously analyzed desktop sites. That changed two years ago, in 2018, when Google transitioned to match how people actually search.
That transition has been incremental, with websites starting to go mobile-first in July of last year. Google explains on its Webmaster Central Blog the reason for the delay, as well as the new target time frame to release its mobile-first index:
“Mobile-first indexing has been an ongoing effort of Google for several years. We’ve enabled mobile-first indexing for most currently crawled sites, and enabled it by default for all the new sites. Our initial plan was to enable mobile-first indexing for all sites in Search in September 2020. We realize that in these uncertain times, it’s not always easy to focus on work as otherwise, so we’ve decided to extend the timeframe to the end of March 2021. At that time, we’re planning on switching our indexing over to mobile-first indexing.”