Is Google Prioritising Mobile Over Desktop?

Is Google Prioritising Mobile Over Desktop?

Anna Kowalska

It comes as no surprise that Google are primed to change the way we search with a more mobile led focus. Google webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes was the first to comment on this evolution. As he explains, the company is now finalising this new index, solely for mobile devices, which shall be used as the primary index for search and will provide the most up to date results as it will be updated more frequently.

For those that aren’t familiar with Google’s current and longstanding process, it all works on a single index for both mobile and desktop. As the Google bots crawl the trillions of web pages, these are categorised and distilled into a mega index based on countless factors. Coupled with the smart algorithms, Google then provide the most relevant search results.

Why the change?

Last year the company announced that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” And that doesn’t include tablets which Google define as a desktop.

In order to provide the most relevant results, it would only make sense that Google update their indexing system. After all, for the first time in history, mobile is the primary device compared with desktop and that shows no sign of slowing.

What’s the impact?

While it’s unclear exactly how this new index will work, the basic understanding suggests that desktop and mobile users would see different search results. It’s been met with criticism from some who simply see it as Google’s efforts to downgrade the desktop.

But consider your own way of using the web and you’ll soon understand this change. Firstly, more than half of all searches are made from mobile, so using a mobile index as the primary index is surely the most effective solution.

Then you’ll have to take into consideration the way we make searches across different devices. When you search on your phone, you’ll likely to need an immediate response. In contrast, you may switch on your desktop to research a query in more detail, allowing you to view several pages easily. This form of research may be better suited to certain results while mobile will require the freshest results.

What’s more, with this new update, mobile searches should now be optimised for mobile. That means when you’re searching on your device, you’ll only be shown those sites with an easy-to-navigate mobile friendly design. It’s all part of the focus on user experience which we all must consider for this new era of mobile usage.

Get ready for change

The changes could be more widespread but we’re yet to know the full details as Google have chosen not to comment on the update. That said, these changes are coming soon. Gary Illyes has confirmed that the new index is expected to be launched “within months”.

With implications on SEO and design, you’ll want to monitor this new update closely. Staying relevant in the searches and maintaining those high rankings will surely require fresh tactics and strategies.