Google drops its mobile-first indexing deadline, leaves it open-ended

Google said because of some difficulties that some sites may have moving to mobile-first indexing, it has decided to not move those sites over yet..

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Google’s mobile-first indexing deadline is no longer a deadline and it decided to leave the “timeline open for the last steps of mobile-first indexing,” John Mueller of Google said on the company blog. Previously, Google postponed the deadline from September 2020 to March 2021, and that deadline came and past.

No timeline. Now, Google said there is no specific timeline, instead Google said the search company “decided to leave the timeline open for the last steps of mobile-first indexing.” Google added currently Google does not “have a specific final date for the move to mobile-first indexing.”

Why no deadline. Google said the deadline has been removed because after “analyzing the sites that are not yet indexed mobile-first” the company “determined that some of these sites are still not ready to be shifted over due to various, unexpected challenges that they’re facing.”

Google added that these “sites were facing unexpectedly difficult challenges and we wanted to accommodate their timelines.” Thus it was to be “thoughtful” of these sites and not move them over until they are ready.

Previously. Google in early March, before all the lock-downs began across most of the world, announced the deadline for all sites to switch over to mobile-first indexing would be September 2020. At that time, Google said, “To simplify, we’ll be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites starting September 2020.”  Then in July 2020, Google moved that deadline once again to March 2021.

Sites will move. Google said as these sites make changes that enable them to switch over to mobile-first indexing, it will “gradually to move those remaining sites over.” Google said that if a website is not verified in Google Search Console, then Google won’t be able to inform it of a pending switch to mobile-first indexing. You can learn more about this in their blog post.

Why we care. Chances are, most, if not all, of your sites and the sites you manage have been moved to mobile-first indexing. If not, this means you have more time to worry about it.

If your site is not ready for the switch, I’d be concerned there are other issues with the overall platform that you may need to upgrade before it becomes a larger issue outside of just mobile-first indexing.

About the author

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz is a technologist and a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics.

In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land, in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards the "US Search Personality Of The Year," you can learn more over here and in 2023 he was listed as a top 50 most influential PPCer by Marketing O'Clock.

Barry can be followed on X here and you can learn more about Barry Schwartz over here or on her personal site.

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