Google Search to Use Mobile Versions of Sites for Indexing
It would be hard to imagine a world without Google search. Over the years, it’s transformed from a search engine to an essential part of our internet experience. Before the widespread availability of smartphones, the primary platform used to access Google was the desktop. Which is why Google has used the desktop version of a page’s content to index results in Google Search. Until now, when Google Search’s will prioritize Mobile versions of a website, according to a blog post today.
When a site has different versions for desktop and mobile browsers, the mobile version is often a stripped-down version of the desktop site, which could mislead users as the page may be missing some content. To address the issue, Google has been experimenting with ‘mobile-first’ indexing of results which involves indexing a page based on the content a mobile user sees when visiting it. The change will be instrumental in fixing the content discrepancy that still exists between the mobile and desktop versions of several websites today.
The program was started as an experiment in late 2016, pushed by Google’s goal to make search results more useful for mobile users. The experiment seems to be a success, as a full-scale rollout is in the works. The switch to mobile-first indexing comes as the result of more and more people using mobile devices to interact with the web.
The ranking of a site remains unchanged with the only thing change being the way content is gathered. On a similar vein, nothing changes for websites which only have a desktop version since a mobile version of the website doesn’t exist, to begin with. It is worth noting that such sites are being penalized, based on a system put in place in 2015. Google said that it would continue to collect feedback on the switch to mobile-first indexing and monitor how things develop.