Last Friday, the Internet giant Google (NASDAQ; GOOGL) announced the initial testing of a different approach to search results. Google will start indexing mobile versions of sites first on its search engine. The experiment aims at adapting to the increasing usage of Google in mobile platforms.
The new Google search results come as the company shifts towards more mobile-oriented products and services. The company had previously announced its intentions to test and implement mobile-first indexing last month, and the changes have come sooner rather than later.
Google as a brand is also taking the wheel of its mobile hardware development, introducing the Pixel smartphones a little over a month ago. This new Google era focuses on mobile connectivity as the world moves on from traditional platforms.
What does mobile-first indexing mean for Google users?
With the testing of mobile-first indexing, Google is experimenting with which results come up when a user performs a search and how they look for him on his end.
For end users, this will affect them only in that some searches will prompt results that prioritize sites with higher mobile traffic instead of what they might be looking for. These could also look different since they are optimized for mobile viewing.
For developers, on the other hand, Google has ready a list of recommendations since they could be experiencing some issues once they start noticing the gradual changes of the mobile-first indexing trials.
What does mobile-first indexing mean for webmasters?
Doantam Pham, a Product Manager at Google, writes in a blog post how active sites or dynamic serving models should not worry about the upcoming changes to the results index.
However, he warns those developers with sites set up to show different content depending on the platform. If a web page is designed to perform differently on mobile and desktop, then it could result in some issues with the user experience.
Recommendations from Google include changing the site’s configuration to allow structured content markup in both versions of it. Webmasters can test this feature using the company’s dedicated testing tool. Googlebot is a fundamental part of the result indexing process, and as such, developers should also check out if the mobile versions of their sites are accessible to it.
Further suggestions include registering and verifying mobile websites on Google’s Search Console. The company reassured webmasters that they would continue to index desktop versions of their sites in their results regardless of the experiment.
This testing phase of mobile-first indexing is just the beginning, and Google has stated that its intentions are, eventually, to adopt this model full-on to give priority to mobile sites on its results.