Google’s New Search Index

Google recently announced it would create a separate mobile index, and that this will become the primary form of the search index that is used to respond to user queries. While it will maintain a separate desktop index, that one will not contain results that are as fresh as those on the new, mobile search index.

Google has been toying with this idea for some time, as experimentation was first announced last year at SMX East, and then the recent announcement came and Google confirmed that this index modification would happen by January 2017.

Of course, users still have many questions about how the new mobile search index will work and how it will impact rankings. For instance, will it really not be the basis for any desktop searches? How fresh will the desktop index be, if their plan is not to keep it as up-to-date as the mobile index? Will desktop searches be worthwhile anymore? All of these questions are important, because desktop usage is still a significant portion of Google searches.

google mobile search

Mobile Search Focus

Certainly, one big change will be that a mobile index will allow Google to use pure mobile content for its ranking algorithms, which will extract mobile data content and determine better rankings for mobile searches.

Publishers that have mobile sites to cater to smartphone users might suffer when the stripped-down version of content garners less targets for the index to hit. This might lead to lower mobile search rankings, until they get the hang of how the new search index works. Obviously, offering richer mobile pages will help Google find and rank your site on this new index.

Although Google makes changes to its search algorithms regularly, this is a big change from the status quo. Google’s aim is to give users a superior search experience on their smartphones, especially since that is now the majority of queries. Search engine experts see these changes as Google respectfully asking website owners to stop over-simplifying mobile sites and make them rich in content and features.

Takeaways

Finally, up until now Google has only listed desktop sites in its index, because those are the sites that Google spiders crawl and index regularly. When you do a smartphone search, Google shows it as if you were on a desktop.

That will change now with the new mobile index, because as we all know mobile sites are often very simplified and stripped-down versions of desktop sites to ensure speedy loading. Google desires that desktop and mobile sites provide the same information, and they seem to be guiding webmaster to that end with this change.

AMP is also a component of Google mobile focus. And while Google may be increasingly putting a larger imperative to mobile, don’t forget the factors that are important for your website.

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