Google Index Update

PubCon is a major annual digital marketing conference held in Las Vegas each year. And this year, a significant announcement came during the keynote speech given by Gary Illyes of Google (think of him as the new Matt Cutts).

That announcement is that Google are going to divide their search engine index between mobile and desktop sites within a few months…and the Primary Index will be the Mobile one, not Desktop. That means the Desktop index won’t be as fresh as the Mobile one.

 

Illyes didn’t give a specific timeframe for when this change will be implemented, only that it will happen “within months

Should You Be Worried?

If you’ve been keeping an eye on trends in how the online world works, you’ll be aware that there’s been a relentless move towards the use of mobile devices in preference to desktops and laptops. Now that phone networks offer data plans that can move large quantities of data cheaply, many more people are using the internet on-the-go rather than at home or in the office.

This upcoming search engine update will be a major one. And it follows on from Google’s other updates which focus on mobile technology such as the update on April 21, 2015 which saw Google start targeting sites that were not mobile friendly (i.e. they weren’t mobile-responsive sites).

One issue facing mobile users is that page load times can be slow, even for mobile-responsive sites because of phone network bottlenecks, low signal strength etc. The AMP Project was created to address that issue. It’s an Open Source initiative (not a Google one) that embodies the idea that website publishers can create mobile optimized content once, and have it load instantly everywhere.

There are other initiatives too that support mobile users in one way or another.

So should you be worried about this soon-to-arrive update?

If your website isn’t mobile responsive (i.e. you never bothered to update your older site so it looks good on mobile devices), then yes, you should be worried. Your site will already have penalties against it, which will lower its rankings in Google. If you don’t update your site, it sounds like it will only end up on the Desktop Index and mobile users will never see your site in the Google search results.

If you run an online business or you have a website that’s a portal to your offline business, you’re going to miss out on getting customers. Bottom line: it’ll hit your bottom line. Affiliate marketers will be particularly prone to this update. Google doesn’t like affiliate sites at the best of times, so you’d better move with the times or your online income is going to sink like a stone.

So How Can You Prepare?

  • The first thing you need to do is check if your website is mobile friendly using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This takes about a minute to run as it analyzes your site.

    This Site Is Mobile Friendly

    Bing have a similar tool here.

    Am I Responsive? will show you how your site looks on different sized devices. In each case all you need to do is paste in your site URL and submit it.

    Mobile Responsiveness Result from "Am I Responsive?"

  • Next, consider adding AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to your site
  • Third, sign up for my mailing list below so I can keep you up to date as more information becomes available! Little is known about this upcoming update at the moment and this way I can keep you in the loop as I learn more.
  • Lastly, if you’re in the market for a website makeover, I build secure, SEO WordPress sites for affiliate marketers and small businesses that use modern, mobile-responsive themes and are hardened against hackers. Here’s what I offer.

Got any questions? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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