It seems that team over at Google are finally set to release the results for the mobile first index.
However, to the wide dismay of a large percentage of search engine optimizers, this is highly likely to be done in stages, with various batches of results being released one after the other.
By choosing to release the results incrementally, and somewhat arbitrarily, many webmasters and SEO companies are fearful that Google will cause a major headache with this roll-out plan by displaying a confusing mixture of Mobile-First and Desktop Search results on the same page.
For some users at least, this already seems to be the case.
So, What is the Mobile First Index?
Previously, Google only indexed and ranked the desktop versions of the near infinite number of websites they crawl on a daily basis. However, the recent game plan is to swap this around so that the mobile version of a website will be ranked and indexed first. Hence the phrase, “Mobile-First”.
What This Means for SEOs
The impending changes mean that webmasters and SEOs should primarily change the way they focus their efforts by always optimizing for mobile search first, and then for desktop browsers. With this in mind, ranking signals such as page speed, intrusive interstitials and mobile friendliness will all need to be taken into consideration much more seriously than ever before..
Although it may seem that there are currently two indexes in use, the mobile-first index is still in the testing phase and it unlikely to be fully rolled-out for at least a few more months. There are several details and teething issues which still need to be ironed out and this has already been going on for quite some time.
Ultimately, Google has stated that the mobile-first index will replace the desktop version entirely, so there will just be one index of online apps and websites for SEOs and webmasters to concentrate on in the future – when life should be a lot simpler and more straightforward.
In the meantime, the best advice is to have a single website that caters for mobile and desktop users at the same time. By opting for a responsive design that accommodates the needs of both camps, with the emphasis on making sure your site delivers a mobile friendly user experience whilst also catering for those with larger screens using the same framework.