If you needed any more evidence that mobile has taken over the world, you got it last week when news broke that Google is going to be creating a dedicated mobile index.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
It’s coming in a few months
According to Google’s Gary Illyes, the new mobile index will be launched within “months.”
So it’s right around the corner.
It will be made the primary index
Perhaps the most important aspect of Google’s announcement is that the new mobile index will be made the primary index.
The decision isn’t surprising given the fact that Google says more than half of the searches it handles are now made on mobile devices.
While Google hasn’t revealed many details about this mobile index, there is already discussion about the potential implications, some of which could be significant.
As Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz notes…
The most substantial change will likely be that by having a mobile index, Google can run its ranking algorithm in a different fashion across “pure” mobile content rather than the current system that extracts data from desktop content to determine mobile rankings.
Some sites that remove or hide content from their mobile experiences could see fewer links and less content in Google’s primary index.
Links will be scarcer on mobile. There will be loss of tokens (words). People put less content on mobile devices. #pubcon
— Lisa Barone (@LisaBarone) October 13, 2016
A desktop index will be maintained, but…
Google will continue to maintain a desktop index, but it won’t be refreshed as frequently.
Nobody yet knows how less frequently the desktop index will be refreshed, but given that a substantial portion of Google searches still occur on desktop devices, the second-class nature of the desktop index could be bothersome to users and site owners alike.
AMP will arguably get more important
Google has been looking at mobile-friendliness for over a year now, so the need to offer a quality mobile experience shouldn’t come as a surprise to companies hoping to rank well.
But with a dedicated mobile index, it’s likely that Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) will become even more important.
Already, many publishers that have jumped on the AMP bandwagon have seen increased traffic from Google, although monetization challenges remain.
With Google making its new mobile index its primary focus, expect to see an even greater emphasis on AMP.
— Patrick Reinhart (@askreinhart) October 14, 2016