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The shift towards Google’s mobile-first indexing has been significant, and now it’s more critical than ever. Google has announced a crucial deadline that could impact the visibility of your website. From July 5, 2024, Google will no longer index websites that do not work on mobile devices. This means that if your site is not mobile-friendly, it may not appear in search results at all, desktop results included and Google search rankings that your site currently holds, could be lost over time.

Understanding Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

Google’s mobile-first indexing initiative began in 2016, aiming to prioritize mobile versions of websites for indexing and ranking. While many believed this transition was complete in October 2023, it turns out the final phase will conclude after July 5, 2024.

John Mueller from Google clarified this on the Google blog, stating:

“The small set of sites we’ve still been crawling with desktop Googlebot will be crawled with mobile Googlebot after July 5, 2024.”

According to Mueller, most websites are already being crawled using Google’s mobile bot. The significant change is that after the deadline, Google will exclusively use the Googlebot Smartphone for crawling and indexing.

Why Mobile Accessibility is Crucial

The key takeaway here is that mobile accessibility is non-negotiable for Google indexing. Mueller emphasized:

“If your site’s content is not accessible at all with a mobile device, it will no longer be indexable.”

This is a long-awaited move. Google is setting a clear boundary for sites that do not render on mobile devices. It’s essential to note that this doesn’t mean Google will penalize sites that are not mobile-friendly. Instead, if your website does not load or render on a mobile device, it simply won’t be indexed.

For those who have a desktop-only WordPress template, there’s no need to panic—provided that the desktop version of your site loads correctly on mobile devices.

Continuing desktop crawling for specific cases

While the focus is overwhelmingly on mobile, Google will continue to use the Googlebot Desktop crawler for certain scenarios, such as product listings and Google for Jobs. This means you might still notice Googlebot Desktop in your server logs and reporting tools.

What this means for our customers

For most websites, this change might not pose a significant issue. However, as SEO professionals, it’s vital that we ensure that our clients’ websites are accessible on mobile devices. If a site fails to load on an Android phone or iPhone, it likely won’t be crawled or indexed by Google post-July 5, 2024.

If you are a SEO client, here’s what we are already doing to ensure mobile accessibility

Testing our clients’ websites

We use a range of tools to confirm that your site consistently renders correctly on mobile devices.


Optimize Loading Speed

We ensure that your site loads quickly on mobile devices to provide a seamless user experience, and consistently reassess load times to further optimize where possible.


Responsive Design

We implement responsive designs that adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions.


Mobile-Friendly Content

We ensure all content, including images and videos, is accessible and properly formatted for mobile devices.


Regular Audits

We continuously monitor your site’s performance on mobile devices and make necessary adjustments.

If you are concerned…

If you are already a SEO client of Cape Business Online, rest assured that you do not need to be concerned about this change taking place within Google search. We have already mitigated any mobile-first exposures that you site at some point had.

If you are not a SEO client, reach out to us and let’s start a conversation about how we can give you peace of mind.