Google has announced that it will finally be making mobile its primary index for content on the web as it aims to deliver fresher and more relevant articles and videos to users on smartphones. Google WebMaster Trends Analyst Garr Illyes revealed the news at search engine conference PubCon on Thursday.
The search engine giant has been experimenting with the idea of establishing a mobile index since 2015, when Illyes said that it “may happen” at SMX East. The shift towards what Google terms as a “mobile-first world” has obviously picked up pace since then, and it now believes that such an index makes sense and is working to make it happen.
While Google has announced its intentions to separate mobile from desktop in the near future, it has not revealed a definitive date for the new index’s arrival and merely stated that it will happen within “months.” When it does eventually happen, it is sure to have a notable impact on SERPs, as Google has always adopted a desktop-centric outlook for ranking pages, even when serving results for mobile.
The lack of in-depth details at the moment makes it hard to gauge just how much of an impact the mobile index will have and how it will work. For example, it is not yet known whether the index will only feature content that is deemed “mobile-friendly,” or if it will be used for desktop queries if it becomes Google’s primary index. While desktop usage is falling, it still generates a large portion of search queries.
The biggest change is likely to come with a new ranking algorithm, which will be able to operate purely for mobile content, rather than the current system that determines mobile rankings for pages using data from desktop content. Overit CMO Lisa Barone said on Twitter that the desktop index will become secondary when mobile takes over and will also be “less up-to-date.”
Mobile has become a crucial platform for content creators and is set to become even more important if it enables users to find better and more meaningful content on smartphones. Google is sure to reveal more details about the index in the coming months.