While Google has dropped hints over the past few years about the importance of mobile, today it became a reality.
During a keynote address from Gary Illyes, a webmaster analyst with Google at Pubcon, he announced plans for the company to switch to a mobile index within months.
The new system will use the mobile index as its main source to respond to queries on search engines. The current desktop index won’t be completely phased out, but Illyes stated it won’t be as up-to-date as the mobile index.
Google has mentioned this idea in the past, but with this announcement, it is clear that they have decided that a mobile index will provide the best results in the future.
While an official date wasn’t given for the release of the change, Illyes did mention that it was in the works to be released in “months”. That is in no way set in stone, but Google has provided plenty of notice before making any mobile changes in the past, so this announcement shouldn’t send a wave of terror through the industry.
That being said, it does send a message that mobile is becoming the complete focus of the digital landscape. As more and more statistics come out each month, the importance of mobile has become more and more clear. This change solidifies that fact.
So, what will this mean when it is rolled out?
There are still a lot of questions about how this will work exactly. Will the mobile index be used for desktops since it is going to be the primary index? Or will it be used solely for mobile? Will the desktop index eventually go away completely?
Once these questions are answered, there will be some more definitive answers about what this update will mean for websites; however, there is one thing that we do know: mobile content is going to become very important.
On many mobile sites, owners trim the content to make it “lighter”. With this new update, search engines will be indexing the mobile pages looking for keywords, so mobile content will need to mirror desktop content to produce rankings.
In a world that is becoming more mobile focused every day, this is a welcome change. It also means there is a lot of work to do.