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When Hannah Poferl said the New York Times saw a decline in Google organic search traffic because of either the Google BERT update or the site being switched to mobile-first indexing, John Mueller from Google said it probably isn’t the mobile-first indexing thing.
He said a site can see both a rise or decline but generally Google moves sites over when it thinks the site is ready and won’t be impacted that much by the move. But as time goes on, maybe Google will be moving sites that are not “ready”? I mean, Google said all sites will eventually be moved but the company has not announced that officially yet. So I would assume sites being moved now are still “ready” to be moved.
John said on Twitter “We look at the site overall and check for the signals (as per our blog posts). Most sites aren’t perfect, that’s the world we live in :). FWIW some sites see a rise in search when switched over — there’s no general “shift”, it’s just that we use the mobile version for indexing.”
We look at the site overall and check for the signals (as per our blog posts). Most sites aren’t perfect, that’s the world we live in :). FWIW some sites see a rise in search when switched over — there’s no general “shift”, it’s just that we use the mobile version for indexing.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) October 30, 2019
Google previously said ranking changes and mobile-first indexing are unrelated. But again, that doesn’t mean ranking changes don’t happen on specific sites, in specific situations. Maybe there is a bug with Google or the site? Maybe the site is missing markup on the mobile version that was on the desktop version. Maybe the pages aren’t equivalent and Google has to rerank those pages. But it seems that Google is looking to roll out mobile-first indexing without an impact to rankings.
Forum discussion at Twitter.