Google: Fast Mobile Sites Come First
Last week it was announced at PubCon in Las Vegas that Google is moving ahead with plans to separate its search engine indexing to two separate indexes: mobile and desktop.
Plans have been set for the mobile index to be the primary one while the desktop one will be secondary. This means that the mobile index will draw data from mobile-friendly websites frequently, while non-mobile websites indexing will be less regular. It also means that mobile-optimised sites will fare better in rankings than their desktop counterparts.
So what does this tell us?
It tells us that Google is putting mobile websites first. This comes as little surprise, of course. When mobile searches surpassed desktop searches for the first time in April 2015, Google hinted that they may consider separating the index.
By putting the mobile index first, the message from Google is clear – mobile is the future. And quite rightly so. Desktop searches are now the minority so it only makes sense to reward mobile optimisation.
What it also allows for is a better mobile search experience. For the end user on a phone or tablet, they will have access to content that will be received better on their devices. This algorithm is all about putting the mobile user first.
But there’s something else.
One of the algorithms that Google will be using to assess mobile index ranking is expected to be based on speed. This is because websites that load quickly are determined to have a lower bounce rate than slow-loading sites.
This is important for all websites, especially ones that have regular news to be indexed to Google News. Google is trying to provide its users with breaking news instantly, and speed is essential to this plan. This is why websites need to use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology to get ahead of the game.
So what is AMP? AMP are pages coded for faster mobile loading. Or, if you like, a lightweight HTML page. As a result, your website is now optimised for speed and readability. Even more importantly, the sites are quickly cached to Google, meaning they are instantly available on searches.
These changes are a massive development for Google and search engine performance. It invests more in mobile technology and it also puts website speed as an important factor for ranking. While the new mobile index is still months off from being launched, business owners and digital teams need to act quickly to get ahead of the game.