How Does Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Affect the Ranking of Websites That Have Separate Mobile and Desktop Versions?


Google’s Mobile-First Indexing primarily impacts websites that have separate mobile and desktop versions by using the mobile version of the website for indexing and ranking. It necessitates that webmasters ensure their mobile site contains the same content as their desktop site, including text, images, and videos, to maintain or improve their rankings on search results.

What Is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile-First Indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Although it still considers the desktop version, the mobile version is now its primary focus. This change is aligned with the increasing smartphone usage to access web content.

For more information, you can refer to Google Search Central.

Impact on Websites with Separate Mobile and Desktop Versions

Websites that maintain different URLs for desktop and mobile versions, such as for desktop and for mobile, need to be particularly mindful of the following:

Responsive Design

Opting for a responsive design approach, where the same URL serves both mobile and desktop users with dynamically adjusted layouts, simplifies many of these issues. It ensures a single, consistent version of content is indexed.


Mobile performance is crucial under Mobile-First Indexing as users expect fast load times on their devices. Utilize tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to evaluate and optimize your mobile site performance.


Both the mobile and desktop versions should have identical metadata, including titles and meta descriptions. Metadata helps in proper indexing and ranking; discrepancies could lead to suboptimal search results placement.

Structured Data

If structured data is used, it should be present on both versions of the site. This ensures that rich snippets and other search enhancements remain available. Make sure that URLs within the structured data are updated to point to mobile URLs when needed.For more details on structured data best practices, see Google's guidelines.

Content Consistency

It's crucial for the mobile version to contain the same content as the desktop version. Inconsistencies can lead to lower rankings as Google's crawler will primarily index the mobile version. This includes ensuring that critical text, images, videos, and meta tags are available on both versions.

Examples and Case Studies

Several studies highlight the importance of Mobile-First Indexing. For instance, Google's Think with Google indicates that responsive sites generally perform better in search rankings compared to separate mobile and desktop versions due to uniform content and reduced redundancy.


To benefit from Mobile-First Indexing, ensure the mobile version of your site maintains content parity with the desktop version, includes structured data, retains consistent metadata, and emphasizes performance improvements. Moving towards a responsive design can further streamline these efforts.