Within the next couple of months, Google is planning to create a new mobile index that will become the primary index for responding to queries. While Google will maintain a separate index it will not be as up-to-date as this new mobile index.
This bit of news was released on October 13th during a Pubcon keynote address given by the Google webmaster trends analyst, Gary Illyes. Illyes did not release a timeline for the creation and release of this new index during his keynote speech; however, in a follow-up that he did with Search Engine Land, he did state that this would happen within the next few months. He did not clarify if it would occur before the end of 2016.
This is not the first that the public has heard of Google releasing a mobile index. In 2015, Google announced that it was putting time and energy into the concept of a mobile index during SMX East. Since that announcement, Google has clearly made the decision that such an index makes sense and has made movement forward in the creation of this product.
Throughout 2015/2016, Google has been prioritizing and streamlining their mobile abilities. In 2015, they tweaked their algorithm so that websites that have been optimized for mobile were receiving a higher priority. This year, they added Accelerated Mobile Pages to their search results so that users were able to select websites that have a quicker loading capacity while they were on their phones.
This new search index should enhance mobile user’s experiences with the Internet, but we aren’t sure how it will affect those who are still doing most of their work on their desktops. While desktop searches have become sparser as more of the population goes mobile, there are still many users who primarily access the Internet this way. We haven’t yet received more information regarding how this mobile index will work for the public, which has left us with plenty of questions.
For instance, seeing as the mobile index will take over as the primary search index for Google, will the public still be able to use it for any desktop queries that they may have? If so, will the mobile index only contain information that has mobile friendly context and will that information be out of date? Additionally, how out of date will the desktop search engine be once this new index is released and how will that affect desktop users?
The largest chance will most likely be that by creating a mobile index Google can begin to change the way that its algorithm is run. Currently, data is extracted from desktop content to help Google determine how pages should be ranked for mobile users. That means that the signals that mobile users are currently seeing, such as links and page speed, are being generated from a desktop algorithm. In short, you may not actually see these items on a smartphone when they are generated from a desktop algorithm.