Google is splitting its index of search results into separate versions for mobile and desktop, a change which will happen in the coming months.
The split will see Google’s index broken into a rapidly updated mobile version, and a desktop version which will not be updated as frequently.
Prioritising the mobile search index over desktop could be seen as a natural progression in Google’s quest to create a better mobile search experience.
Having a separate index for mobile creates an opportunity for Googlebot to strictly crawl the responsive/mobile version of a web page and index it accordingly. This could lead to Google delivering better mobile-optimised content to people searching on smartphones.
What does this mean?
With the announcement of an upcoming split of Google’s search index, the company is making an emphatic statement that mobile search is more important than desktop search.
Google prioritising mobile over desktop sends a message that, at the very least, this means having either a mobile or responsive version of your website. However, that’s just the bare minimum.
Having a mobile-optimised website is not enough. Speed also matters — not just to Google’s ranking algorithm, but to users as well. According to Google, 53% of users will abandon a site or web page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
Ideally, site owners should have these bases covered before Google splits its search index. No exact time frame was given as to when the split will happen, but in this industry, it never hurts to be proactive.