Get Ready Now: Google Aims to Launch Mobile-First Index in 2018
According to Google webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes, the leading search engine will likely not be prepared to launch its mobile-first index until 2018. This is several months later than originally projected, which means you now have more time to prepare your website.
What is a mobile-first index? SearchEngineLand.com put it this way: “Google has started to use the mobile version of the web as their primary search engine index. A search engine index is a collection of pages/documents that the search engine has discovered, primarily through crawling the web through links. Google has crawled the web from a desktop browser point of view, and now Google is changing that to crawl the web from a mobile browser view”.
The number of web users who view the web either on desktop or mobile devices increasingly grows to favor mobile devices, with mobile views surpassing desktop views in ten countries – including the United States (Google, 2015). Anticipation has been growing for this exciting new option over the past few years, but Google wants to be fully prepared before this complicated change takes place. This includes the assurance that non-mobile-friendly sites will not be negatively affected. An index that is solely mobile-first may take several more years.
The eventual switch to a mobile-first index does not discount desktop content, it only means that mobile-first content will be indexed before desktop content. Google will inform webmasters in advance of the launch so that there will be no surprises.
There are several challenges to be faced in the development of a mobile-first index. Since mobile content is younger than desktop content, there is currently a greater volume of desktop content. In addition, much of the mobile content lacks rel=canonical and rel-annotations, making it more difficult for search engines to know which URLs are the most important to index and rank.
Sites that are already responsive, or are in the process of becoming that way, will be better prepared for this change since there are only minor differences in presentation of the data between mobile devices and desktop sites. Hidden content behind the “read more” links on any page through CSS will be included in the mobile-first index.
Even though the timeline for the launch of Google’s mobile-first index has been delayed, if your company’s website is not currently responsive, we urge you that now is the time to begin transitioning your site. Speak with an experienced marketing executive at Top Marketing Agency by calling (888)843-9840 to schedule an appointment to discuss preparations for the mobile-first index.