Mobile traffic is MASSIVE! And Google, the biggest player in the online world, wants to take a big chunk of the pie.
Everyone knew mobile traffic will take by storm the Internet in 2016 and 2017, but no one knew exactly the scale of this new trend. Reliable studies were released only earlier this year and they paint an impressive picture. A study done by Stone Temple Consulting*, revealed that over 55 percent of traffic comes from mobile devices. The figures also show that the trend is growing, and this figure will increase even more in the coming years.
Google already knows this and is ready to make the switch to a mobile first index. The questions are: what will it change? And when should we expect it?
Now, Google indexes your website based mainly on the desktop experience your visitors are likely to encounter. Of course, mobile adaptability and responsiveness are key to getting on top, but the desktop experience is still #1 in Google’s eyes, for now…
So what is changing, after all?
Well, Google will index your website mainly on the mobile experience it can give to users. Your mobile version will essentially be the first, official version. Google will firstly see the mobile version of your website and will generate SERPs based on the information it gets from your mobile version. Basically, there will be a switch between the desktop version and the mobile version.
When should we expect the change?
Back in June, Gary Illyes, Google’s Webmaster Trends analyst, said that the Mobile First Index will only be launched when the SERPs are quality neutral, irrespective of their type, mobile or desktop. This means that Google wants to provide users virtually the same results as before the switch, but with slight changes depending on the “mobile factor” of websites. Essentially, Google wants to make sure the quality of the results will not suffer after the change, as this would lead to serious issues for a lot of websites.
Also, according to Mr. Illyes, Google doesn’t have a set deadline for the new change, pointing out that it could come “many quarters away from now”. The earliest date for the launch is during the first quarter of 2018, but there is a lot more work to be done.
What does it mean for the business owner?
Google’s updates are known in the online world as important milestones. Often, they change SERPs, affect websites and change ranking strategies. Luckily, Google’s reticence on launching the new Mobile First Index is positive: it shows that the team behind the update want to make sure they release a good product, without errors or hiccups. Hopefully there will be no “freaking out” from business owners, digital marketers and everyone involved in the online world. There is nothing to be fearful of, especially if your website is responsive and mobile ready.