Google’s Search Index To Go Mobile First – This Week at Friday Knowledge Share

In this week’s Friday Knowledge Share, Digital Manager Liam Shepherd presented on Google’s latest platform statistics and their subsequent strategy activity.

Firstly, he informed us of trends that show mobile internet browsing use is increasing, such as the statistic that every 7 out of 8 minutes spent on media are on mobile devices, and more than 50% of Google searches are also performed on mobile.

He then told us that as a reaction to the rising popularity of web surfing on mobile devices, Google has created a dedicated mobile index.

This means that when you search on Google with your mobile, you will only see websites tailored to mobiles.

This is in contrast to how Google’s current index works for mobile. As it stands, if you create a page that has content about fruit for the desktop version, but you create content about football for the mobile version, Google will rank the mobile version of the URL on the basis of it being about fruit.

All of this is now set to change.

Google did already announce the suggestion of a mobile index pending tests in 2015. Since that time, Google have clearly decided that a mobile index is the ideal strategic move for the future.

When will the index be implemented?

According to Google’s Gary Illyes, the new mobile index will be launched “within months”. This means that it is something we should all begin preparing for.

Possibly the most significant part about all of this is that the new mobile index won’t just be making up the numbers; Google have decided that the new mobile index will be the primary index, taking over from the desktop index.

While Google haven’t yet revealed many specifics, there is already discussion about the potential implications of the forthcoming mobile index, some of which could be vital to the UX of mobile internet use and website activity.

What are the implications?

Barry Schwartz has claimed that “Google can run its ranking algorithm differently across ‘pure’ mobile content rather than extracting data from desktop content to determine mobile rankings.”

Google has been looking at mobile-friendliness for over 12 months now, so the need to offer a quality mobile experience is becoming ever more paramount for businesses.

With a dedicated mobile index, it’s highly probable that Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) will become much more important in keeping website visitors happy. Already, many companies that have started using AMP have seen increased traffic from Google, although monetization challenges still remain currently.

Already increasing at a good rate, we can rightly anticipate an even stronger emphasis on AMP now that Google’s primary platform prerogative will be the mobile index.

We can assume that because of this shift in focus, Google are not going to refresh the desktop index as frequently as they do currently once the new mobile index is introduced.

This means that the focus of SEO and other marketing channels may begin to view mobile as the number 1 platform to optimise for in the future.

How’s it all going to turn out? Stay tuned and follow Coast blog for more information from us as soon as it arrives.