Google Search Index To Rank Pages According To Mobile Site Content

Google has started experimenting with a mobile-first approach to indexing webpages. The reason for change is because these days "most people" who search for something on Google are doing so on their mobile device. As things exist, Google's ranking system still looks at a desktop version of a page's content to evaluate its relevance to the user even though the mobile may see something different.

"This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher," Google explains. "To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first."

Traffic Analytics

Google shot down the idea of using separate ranking systems for desktop and mobile. It will still use a single search index for websites and apps, just over time Google's algorithms will eventually use the mobile version of a site in determining its ranking and to pull snippets of text from.

The change won't happen over night. Google said it understands how important the shift is to web users and the Internet at large. With that in mind, it plans to conduct tests over the next several months on a "small scale." Assuming those tests go well, Google will ramp up its effort. In the meantime, webmasters can consider this a heads up and prepare accordingly.

"If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It's better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready," Google added.

Webmasters who have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is the same on mobile and desktop don't have anything to worry about. However, if those are different, Google says they should consider making changes.