It is a well-known fact that Google has been shifting its focus to mobile. From penalizing websites for poor mobile search experience to launching Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Google’s message couldn’t be clearer.
Google’s Gary Illyes announced that there will be separate search indexes for mobile and desktop. This split is aimed at providing a superior mobile search experience. Upon the split, the mobile index will become the primary one. While Google will maintain a desktop index, it will not be updated as frequently.
How Will It Work?
The current desktop index, will be updated with the mobile version, and a fresh index for PC and desktop will be created. This move will rank pages differently depending on the device the query is searched from. With more focus on mobile, sites that follow mobile-friendly practices will be ranked higher on phones.
Impact of Split Search Index
With separate search indexes, the search engine spiders or bots can crawl the mobile versions of webpages and index them accordingly. Google prioritizing mobile pages is a big wake-up call for all SEOs and site owners who are yet to optimize for mobile.
However, simply optimizing for mobile is not enough. As per Google, 53% of users will abandon a webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Google’s AMP technology is one of the best ways to optimize your website for speed (and eventually ranking).
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
AMP technology is an open source initiative released last year. It is basically a stripped-down version of your webpage. Pages using this technology take less than 1 second to load and can save up to 10 times more internet data. Google also adds an AMP badge to ‘AMPed’ pages resulting in higher click-through-rates.
This addresses the poor mobile experiences many users face due to slow loading. Over 600 million pages have been published using the platform. Many big names like Pinterest, BuzzFeed, WordPress, The New York Times, CNN, have already embraced AMP.
No concrete timeline has been established regarding the date yet. However, you can expect the split search index to roll out within the next couple of months. With separate indexes for desktop and mobile, mobile optimization is now more important than ever.