A recent announcement from Silicon Valley has revealed that Google intends to shakeup its search engine results page once again. The search titan announced that it planned to split its indexes into mobile and desktop, rather than maintaining the current model that only has one. The change is likely to have a heavy effect on the search results displayed to mobile users, and will increase the importance of proper mobile SEO. More information is sure to follow in the coming months (the plan is to have the index split in the next few months). Here’s what we know so far.
The background: Google indexing
In order to understand this development, you need a bit of background information about indexing. Think of Google like a massive web library. When someone types a search into the bar, they are actually searching the company’s massive index. Google sends special pieces of software to your site that crawls the site’s content and places you in the index. Currently, Google has one massive index for all searches. That’s going to change.
Splitting the indices
Gary Illyes, certified Google know-it-all, announced at a major conference that the current single index would be split in two. The new one will be the primary option and work solely for mobile. That means when someone searches from mobile, Google will choose results from an index solely for that platform, meaning better and more-focused links will appear at the top of the search results page.
The importance of mobile
Desktop is quickly fading from the limelight and becoming the secondary option in most digital users’ lives. Google of course recognized the importance of catering to users on their mobile devices. Mobile-friendly sites are now the paradigm rather than the exception (as they were not too long ago). Having a separate mobile index will allow for better results for the tens of thousands of queries made via the engine each second.
There are plenty of questions that remain to be answered. Will Google not use the desktop index at all for mobile queries? How great of an effect will it have on the results? When exactly will we begin to see the effects in the search engine results page? We don’t have all of the answers yet, but what we do know is that Google is continuing to refine their search methods to focus on mobile.