After months and months of promises, Google has finally published on the Google webmaster blog their tips to getting ready for the mobile-first index.
Here are some key points outside of the tips that Google published:
(1) It is still only live for a a handful of sites (2) Those are closely being monitored by the search team (3) It will still be rolled out very slowly (4) There is still no timeline for when it's going to be completed (5) You can check your log files for smartphone Googlebot activity to see when you migrated over to the mobile first index. (6) You can also check the snippets in the results, as well as the content on the Google cache pages, will be from the mobile version of the pages.
So none of that is new, outside of giving us the status queue update.
Here are the official tips from Google on this:
- Make sure the mobile version of the site also has the important, high-quality content. This includes text, images (with alt-attributes), and videos - in the usual crawlable and indexable formats.
- Structured data is important for indexing and search features that users love: it should be both on the mobile and desktop version of the site. Ensure URLs within the structured data are updated to the mobile version on the mobile pages.
- Metadata should be present on both versions of the site. It provides hints about the content on a page for indexing and serving. For example, make sure that titles and meta descriptions are equivalent across both versions of all pages on the site.
- No changes are necessary for interlinking with separate mobile URLs (m.-dot sites). For sites using separate mobile URLs, keep the existing link rel=canonical and link rel=alternate elements between these versions.
- Check hreflang links on separate mobile URLs. When using link rel=hreflang elements for internationalization, link between mobile and desktop URLs separately. Your mobile URLs' hreflang should point to the other language/region versions on other mobile URLs, and similarly link desktop with other desktop URLs using hreflang link elements there.
- Ensure the servers hosting the site have enough capacity to handle potentially increased crawl rate. This doesn't affect sites that use responsive web design and dynamic serving, only sites where the mobile version is on a separate host, such as m.example.com.
For me, even bigger news, is that Gary Illyes from Google has posted on Twitter about this after not posting for over 53 days before that. So maybe he is fully back from his vacation?
Forum discussion at Twitter.