Is Google Splitting Its Index Into Desktop And Mobile?

There has been talk on the streets that Google is up to its usual tricks. This time it has been revealed that Google is going to be, or is already, testing a sort of ‘mobile-first index’. Interesting, and potentially highly useful, if your website is already mobile friendly and potentially devastating if it is not.

So what is it?

Well, on Friday, Google announced it was going to be rolling out a new indexing technique, something it calls ‘mobile-first’, or ‘mobile-only’ indexing. Google has actually been experimenting with this new indexing since 2015, but it has graduated to real-world testing.
The problem Google had (or users had?) was that Google was still using a lot of desktop ranking signals, which, if you think about it, doesn’t make a lot of sense. You might even argue that results from a Google search conducted on mobile ought to be wildly different than that of desktop, unless every site is mobile friendly, and performs well across multiple devices.
This isn’t the case. A lot of websites still aren’t mobile friendly, and this is something Google knows users won’t put up with. There is a sort of ‘reputational damage’ that goes with not having a mobile site – it sort of looks like you don’t care, or don’t invest, which is not a buyer confidence signal.
This is set to change, Google will now enhance its algorithm to filter poor mobile sites, when the mobile-first algorithm hits all of search.
Google says it is not technically 2 indexes, but it is not clear what they mean. At Judd we believe it to mean that there is a singular index of data, such as websites and apps, and depending how a user searches, will depend on how the algorithms work to produce the result. We’ve seen before with searches that done depending on where you are, of if you’re logged in, so it makes sense Google might add another layer for users searching on mobile devices. We know that the results are already slightly different on mobile devices, but we can also see it serves up a lot of websites that just do not function well on mobile.

Is your website mobile friendly?

If you’re concerned how this new algorithmic roll-out might affect your mobile ranking positions, then feel free to get in contact with us at MB Web, and we will be happy to help out.