In a recent Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller discussed how Google will handle multi-platform sites in a mobile first index. Specifically, Mueller discussed how they will index and score the Web Vitals factors for sites that have both a mobile and AMP version.
Web Vitals are metrics that will become ranking factors in 2021, so knowing which version of a site Google will use for indexing and user experience scoring is important.
In the hangout, a publisher asked about best practices for showing visitors different versions of a site.
Mueller answered that question and then went into detail about how Google will index and score sites that have a mobile, AMP and desktop version.
Mobile Version Preferred for Indexing
Mueller began by stating that for indexing purposes, Google will use a mobile version of a site if both a mobile and AMP version co-exist.
Google would not use the AMP version of a site for indexing if there’s a mobile version of a site.
This is what Mueller said:
“With regards to AMP and mobile and desktop, we treat AMP pages as being alternates by default. So we wouldn’t use the AMP pages for indexing.”
Situations When Google Will Use AMP for Indexing
Then Mueller said that Google will use the AMP version of a site for indexing where there is no mobile version of a website and only an AMP version.
“There are certainly ways that you can set up a website so that the AMP page is your mobile page and you have an alternate desktop page where you just have a desktop version and the AMP version.
And in a case like that, we would see the AMP page as being a normal mobile page and we will just index that normally.”
Google Web Vitals Ranking Factor Scoring
Mueller next explained how Google will score the Web Vitals ranking factor when there is a mobile and AMP version of a website.
Here’s how Mueller explained it:
“The other thing that kind of plays into this complex scenario of mobile, desktop and AMP is that when it comes to the page experience score, kind of the Core Web Vitals, where we’re testing the speed and stability and usability of a web page, we will test the version that users end up seeing.
So that means we would test the AMP version with regards to speed, the quality and usability.
From that point of view we would not test the mobile version for that.
So that’s something where in this situation with mobile first indexing, we would index the mobile version.
We would use the AMP version with regards to testing usability and speed.
And we would show the desktop version in the search results as an alternate URL when people on desktop are searching.”
How Google Handles Sites in Mobile First Index
There are many sites that have three versions, mobile, AMP and desktop. Google has revealed that sites created with both a mobile and AMP version will have their mobile version crawled for indexing and the AMP version used for Web Vitals scoring.
Google will then use the AMP version for user experience ranking factors represented by the Web Vitals metrics.
And the desktop version will be shown as an alternate URL for those on a desktop device.