Penguin 4.0 made waves, prompting changes across the board for most marketers. The effect that Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) has had a profound effect on how mobile users see results. Now Google is taking it a step further, and making a mobile-only index.
That’s right, in the next few months, Google is going to split out a mobile index from a desktop index, and the mobile index will be the new primary one. What does this mean?
The separated desktop index will not be kept as current as the mobile one, as Google puts more resources towards the mobile experience. This is totally in line with current user trends, as more than half of all searches occur on mobile devices of some sort, and the number of “near me” searches continues to grow.
It also addresses another mobile user trend. Users tend to leave a page if it takes more than a few seconds to load. The introduction of AMP was designed to help with this, stripping down pages to show only the most relevant content and load quickly. This takes it to a new level, and seems to indicate that page speed will be, if not already, a factor in the search rankings.
There are precious few details yet on the mobile index though. Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes made the announcement at Pubcon in mid-October but failed to elaborate at the time. There are several questions that need to be answered. Some industries, like real estate, still offer better experiences on a desktop. So what about their needs? Will the mobile index only carry mobile-friendly content? Can non-mobile optimized content still rank high?
We may not have to wait long for the answers, as Illyes promised more information to follow. It will be interesting to see where Google goes next.