How to Prepare for the Mobile-First Index: DON'T FREAK OUT

It’s no secret that Google has been encouraging marketers for years to shift to mobile-friendly website design. According to Google’s Gary Illyes, they’ve been trying to convince us that mobile is important since 1042 BC. But with Google’s announcement of the mobile-first index over a year ago, they’ve left marketers wondering, “When is round two of Mobilegeddon going to hit?!” (Okay, hopefully not that dramatic, but you get the point).
Throughout the year, we’ve seen countless algorithm updates, most left “unnamed” or “unconfirmed”, leaving SEOs to wonder if their ranking changes were due to the mobile first index. In a recent interview with John Mueller of Google, Barry Schwartz questioned him about whether or not the days of Matt Cutts’ transparency regarding algorithm updates would ever resurface. While we can’t expect to go back to the glory days, he did state that Google will “highlight” major changes.
After listening to Google’s Gary Illyes at the SMX East Conference, my suspicions were confirmed that Google’s recent Webmaster Blog regarding the transition from m-dot URLs to a responsive site meant they were getting closer to fully implementing the mobile-first index.