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Segregating to Prioritize Mobile
At the moment Google has one search index. Indexing is the processing of the information gathered by the Googlebot from its crawling activities and it affects your website’s SEO or appearance in organic search. Once web pages are crawled, they are added to Google’s searchable index (if they meet quality guidelines). The Googlebot analyzes the words on a page and where those words are located. This search index process was the same for both desktop and mobile search results. News flash: Google announced it will split the search index to prioritize mobile over desktop.
Update: Has It Officially Been Split?
If MozCast is on your daily review list, you’ve noticed that SEO temperatures have been running very high for the last several months. In fact, we’ve seen more SEO shake-ups in 2016 and into early 2017 than ever before. In mid-November an unnamed update was released causing rumors that the mobile index was unleashed. Webmasters noticed significant drops in SERPs positions and spikes in Analytics data. As of mid-January, there are no confirmed reports that the index has been split or when it’s supposed to rollout. Our advice is to get ready. Make sure your website caters to the mobile experience. A mobile-responsive theme is a minimum. Ideally, your website design starts with how users will view and interact on the small screen and then build up from there. Stay tuned as more information becomes available.
The World As We Know It
Put simply, Google’s search index is their map of where things are on the internet. It enables Google to show the right thing to you when you search. Currently, Google has one search index for mobile and desktop searches together. So if you’re searching on an iPhone you’ll see the same result order as you would on your laptop, or desktop computer. Note: other factors are also taken into account like browser history, location etc, which will influence search result orders. However, the search index is the same.
Changing the search index to prioritize mobile isn’t really a surprise. Mobile responsiveness and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) are hot topics in the SEO world. Remember #Mobilgeddon in 2015? This latest Google announcement further nudges (ok, scares) website owners to deliver better mobile-optimized content to people using smartphones and other mobile devices.
Google’s Mobile First Search Index
Google recently revealed that over 50% of searches are now carried out on mobile. This number continues to grow year after year. Is it a seismic SEO shift? The search index split provides a better mobile experience. Google will only be looking at content that works on mobile when it carries out a search query. As a user, you’ll get faster. fresher and better results.
For Webmaster, it’s not enough to have a mobile responsive site. The search index change means there’s more pressure on fast load times. There’s more pressure to get onboard with AMP. There’s more pressure to publish fresh content.
But for people working in SEO, the game is rapidly changing. Now you need to think about optimizing for two slightly different indexes.
As a mobile search user are you celebrating? As a website owner are you worried?
How can we help?
What do your links and content say about your site’s SEO? What does your data say in Search Console?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.
Photo credit – Top: Vasco Solutions