Skip to content

We’re tracking Google’s Mobile-First Indexing, here’s how you can too

Photo of James Richardson

James Richardson

Co-Founder & Partnerships

Posted: 25 Mar 2020

Google’s John Mueller gave a presentation at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) Munich earlier this week and has revealed some interesting new details about Mobile-First Indexing.

For us SEO’s, we have some important new details that we can use to track when Google begins the transition for sites that we manage. 

One of the new pieces of information was that site owners will receive a notification through Google Search Console (GSC) when indexing has changed to Mobile, along with an annotation within reports which I imagine will look something like this:

Google Search Update

While this information is extremely useful, an idea has been provided by John (very unusual for Google to give away this sort of information) for how you can track the transfer yourself.

It involves using the adding the following code to your website. This is in PHP, but you can adjust for whatever server-side language your website/CMS is written in: 

<! -- User-agent: <?php echo $_SERVER[“HTTP_USER_AGENT”]; ?> -->

The idea is that you can log the user agent, basically the fingerprint of the computer accessing your website, in the HTML source code of your website.

Then you can check Google’s cached page source code, cleverly showing you which Googlebot, desktop or mobile, hit your website!

What comes next?

Apparently a considerable amount of sites have already made the transfer over to Mobile-First Indexing, although there haven’t been any reports of SEO’s getting the notification through GSC just yet.

I image that we will start to receive these soon though, and it will be an inbox explosion like we saw when the new Google Search Console Beta interface rolled out:

Google Search Console Notifications

Although instead of waiting for Google to decide when to tell you about the change, it’s worthwhile implementing this process to see first-hand for yourself.

We hope you found this guide useful, and we’ll keep you posted when our magic code has come into play – hopefully we can find out before Google tells us!

Photo of James Richardson

James Richardson

Co-Founder & Partnerships

Working in the SEO industry for many years alongside some of Australia’s biggest brands, James started his online career running online Sports Fan sites, as well as cutting his teeth on several successful eCommerce brands and content sites.

Previously holding various senior roles across the Sales and Marketing teams for ASX listed companies, he went on to found Optimising with Daniel and is proud he has helped mould it into one of Australia's leading SEO agencies.

When he’s not in the office he’s at home having pretend tea parties, or building a cubby house in the lounge room with his three young girls.


We value purpose over profit and take action.

Our values and beliefs have always set the tone and approach to our business. It's not just enough to grow as a company and produce profits, we have a global responsibility to make our economy more inclusive and sustainable. As both a B Corp and a member of 1% for the planet, we have further cemented this purpose within our organisation.

However, our work isn't done quite yet. For Optimising, this is simple the start of our journey towards building a better business and world!

Partner with
the real deal

Chat with us today and we’ll get you the results you deserve.

Google Partner Premier 2022
Shopify plus partners
AWIA: Australian Web Industry Association
Aboriginal Flag
Torres Straight Flag

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people as the Traditional Owners of the land now known as Richmond. We pay our respects to Elders from all nations - and to their Elders past, present and future.

Pride flag

Optimising is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of inclusion and connectedness. We are able to grow and learn better together with a diverse team of employees.