Within months Google will create a separate mobile search index that will be the primary index used to respond to queries over the desktop version. This means Google searches done via desktop will soon be slightly out of date as the mobile index is more rapidly updated.
Google webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes announced the change at digital marketing conference Pubcon. While an exact timeline was not provided, Illyes confirmed it would take place in coming months.
And what does that mean for you? It’s yet another reason to prioritize mobile-friendly versions of sites and adopt a mobile-first attitude if you haven’t done so already.
Google already promotes mobile-friendly websites in its search results, a change that took place back in April 2015. Size of text and tappable links are just two criteria Google uses when determining whether a site should be promoted.
Desktop usage is already a minority of queries made on Google. By separating the two indexes, Google will easily be able to weed out sites with vastly different content on mobile than desktop versions.
According to Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land: “The most substantial change will likely be that by having a mobile index, Google can run its ranking algorithm in a different fashion across ‘pure’ mobile content rather than the current system that extracts data from desktop content to determine mobile rankings.”
As more people begin to access the internet solely through smartphones, updates like this mobile search index prioritization will arrive more frequently. Are you ready?
Mackenzie Mennucci, Content Specialist & Social Community Manager