Google spokesperson Gary Illyes announced at Pubcon last week, that they are working on launching a separate search index for mobile – not only that, the mobile, rather than the desktop index will be the primary index, with the desktop version being updated less frequently.
This comes as no surprise – the writing has been on the wall for some time, with Google launching their Accelerated Mobile Pages and providing a ranking boost to mobile friendly websites over the past year, and of course, the fact that over 50% of Google searches are made on a mobile device, meaning the mobile index is the natural “number 1”.
Whilst we’ve been expecting this, and know it’s coming, there isn’t all that much detail about how the transition will take place, and how this will effect rankings on desktop based searches, but we can see the use of location based searching becoming a bigger factor in SEO in the near future.
So, does this mean that users on a desktop/laptop will be penalised, in that they will be receiving search results from a “lesser/less frequently updated” index? We’re really not sure, not yet at least – what we do know is that the mobile version will be updated more frequently, but how much more is unclear, it could be minutes difference, which is negligible, but with the ever changing SERPS, if it turns out to be days, then we could be seeing some completely different results on a mobile device vs a desktop PC or laptop, and that would surely mean some big changes in the SEO world – we’re already actively investigating this, like always we’re looking to be ahead of the field when it comes to this new release.
What does this mean for your website? If you’re mobile friendly – probably not too much, but if your website is not mobile friendly, we suspect it may not make it into the mobile index – or at very least, will rank poorly, so perhaps now is a good time to be refreshing your website!
We’ll keep an eye on the latest news and keep you updated on any future information that comes in regarding this, in the meantime, ensure your site is fast and reliable on mobile platforms, or the future may not be bright!