Google is banning desktop content: Starting in spring 2021, websites without mobile versions are to disappear from Google’s indexing. They will then be ranked very poorly in Google search results. Publishers need to know this now.

Most users are now surfing the Internet on their smartphone or tablet while on the move. The fact that in 2020, site operators still sometimes do not attach importance to mobile versions is therefore an absurdity from the perspective of customer experience alone.

That’s similar to Google. For years now, websites that rely solely on desktop content have been losing importance in search engine rankings. Now the company wants to put an end to this trend – and will be removing websites with only desktop content from its own indexing from March 2021.

Google had originally planned this step for September 2020. However, due to the ongoing corona crisis, the search engine postponed its plans for half a year.

Desktop content to be removed from Google indexing in March 2021

When desktop-only websites are removed from the Google index, all the images, comments and other content they contain disappear with them.

The consequence is that users can no longer find corresponding pages (as well). As a result, site operators lose potential customers and ultimately also have to accept financial losses.

It is therefore important that publishers optimize their websites for mobile use as quickly as possible.

Google admits problems with M-Dot websites

Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst and SEO expert John Mueller also admitted to Search Engine Journal that there are problems with the display of mobile Internet addresses in the desktop search.

According to this, it could happen that Google does not redirect desktop users to desktop Internet addresses of corresponding websites. The problem is said to occur mainly when a website is available in different languages and countries and uses the “hreflang” attribute.

M-Dot websites may then appear instead of mobile Internet addresses. To counteract this, publishers can set up redirects to the respective desktop addresses for desktop users.

Desktop Content: Publishers should also be aware of the following

As early as July 2020, Yingxi Wu from Google’s Mobile First Indexing team had already explained in a blog post what site operators should still be aware of.

According to Wu, publishers should use the same Robots Meta Tags for desktop and mobile versions. They should also look for fast loading speeds for mobile pages and check whether desktop and mobile content match.