Google to begin prioritising mobile indexing over desktop indexing

The change follows a year of experimentation by Google who had announced in 2016 that it would begin experiments to make its indexing system mobile-first.

Google announced that it will begin indexing and ranking the mobile version of web pages on its search engine instead of PC-oriented pages.

The Google logo. Reuters.

The Google logo. Reuters.

What this change essentially means is that pages that are mobile-friendly will rank higher in searches than those that are optimised for desktop PCs. The change, as minor as it may seem, follows after a year of experimentation by Google who had announced in November 2016 that it would begin experiments to make its indexing system mobile-first.

The reason behind the change is that because mobile and desktop versions of pages usually vary widely, it tends to confuse mobile users who end up viewing search results that are better optimised for desktops.

Now, Google who have a single index that it uses to produce search results, would not be able to filter out mobile-optimised pages for a user viewing the results on a smartphone. This is what is going to change starting in July 2018.

According to data provided by Google, mobile searches had begun overtaking desktop searches back in 2015 and has continued to be a growing trend ever since.

As per a report by TechCrunch, mobile-friendliness of pages has been one of the many factors in determining how a site is ranked on Google, but it is not the only factor. For example, there are times when a desktop-oriented page would rank higher than a mobile-friendly page, purely because it had better information. However, Google will now prioritise mobile-friendly pages in more ways than it used to. One such measure is that slow-loading content will now be downranked.

Google will not be shifting all websites to the new mobile-first indexing immediately but only the first batch. This, the company states, includes sites that are already following the best practices for mobile-first indexing.

To check whether a page is mobile-friendly, you can check out Google mobile-friendliness test here.

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