Google’s got a single index of documents that it compiles so it can respond to the massive amount of search queries it receives, but with the rapid ascent of mobile searches, something mobile-specific is now being made. Google are rolling out a Separate Mobile Index soon. Google’s current index is a database of every page on the web and supplementary details about each one, like readability and mobile-friendliness. They’ve only compiled info determined from desktop searches so far, but mobile searches now make up half of Google’s searches, so it isn’t surprising that Gary Illyes’ announcement also suggested the separate mobile index will become its primary index.
So, what does this mean?
It’s still unclear what this means for desktop queries and when exactly the separate mobile index will be rolled out. It should be within the next few months, so developments will happen soon, so it’s important to start preparing. There’s haziness around whether the desktop index will be updated or neglected and whether only mobile-friendly content will be compile din the separate mobile index.
Well, the desktop index won’t be as up-to-date and Google have said that it’ll be maintained separately, but without as much resource. Mobile’s important, but there’s still a huge amount of people who use desktop search so dated content could be an oversight. There seems to be an emphasis on the latest most relevant content too, which could mean that quality content takes more of a back-seat.
This announcement complements the trend for increased mobile usage and mobile search. It couldn’t be more vital that brands build SEO strategy around mobile search and websites are optimised for mobile usage. The separate mobile index is urging pages to work on mobile-friendliness and loading times, so they will benefit.
Mobile is now playing a big role in Google new search strategies and it goes without saying that desktop is now seen as secondary to mobile. The 2015 Google algorithm rewarded effective mobile strategy and delivered ranking boosts for mobile-friendly sites and Accelerated Mobile Pages. Brands using AMPs have seen more Google traffic. Having a good site that’s mobile responsive is key for success with the mobile index. So having two very different desktop and mobile sites will affect rankings.
This is still an early development and we can only speculate about the implications. In the meantime, making sure your website and content is mobile-friendly is crucial, so start preparing!