Mobile search is not only the majority but the future. In the upcoming months, Google will be making a massive change to the way its search engine handles desktop and mobile searches–or rather, how it will start handling them differently from one another. Gary Illyes, a webmaster at Google, announced mid-October that they would start prioritizing search on mobile platforms by splitting mobile and desktop results entirely in order to improve the mobile search experience. Along with this overhaul to their query system, Google stated that we will start to see the mobile stack receive updates fairly quickly and with greater frequency than the desktop index.
This sort of update doesn’t come as much of a surprise when looking at mobile device ownership and search trends over the past few years. Last year represented an important shift when more than half of all traffic to major U.S. websites came from a mobile device, and according to those trends most expect for this number to continue to climb. This makes some practical sense when a good majority of people own smartphones, especially in the U.S., and answering any question is as easy as reaching into your pocket.
Will this Affect Desktop?
Desktop search should remain how it is for the most part. While Google stated that the mobile index will be receiving priority over its desktop index in the future, this is mostly because the mobile platform hasn’t had the years of development and optimization that desktop search has. Mobile search is still relatively new, but mobile devices and the entire mobile platform is developing at a much quicker pace and therefore needs more attention to become the experience that Google and its users want it to be.
What Will This Mean for SEO and Marketing?
Google has made a bold movement by stating its focus on mobile browsing and claiming that this is the majority and future of search. Not only does this mean that online business owners will now be required more than ever to make sure that their website is mobile-friendly and optimized to work well on any type of device, but that their website loads quickly too. Part of this major change entails emphasizing the load times of websites, pushing not just for site optimization on a software level but that servers and networks are upgraded and maintained as well. Integrating the importance of loading speeds is not only an overall improvement for the consumer and search experience, but pushes all of the web to get better in order to stay modern and improve ratings and rankings.
For marketers, this update could mean either a huge boost or a massive hit to their website’s ranking and traffic. Overall rankings will improve for those sites that are properly optimized for mobile while those who aren’t may be left in the dust until conditions are improved. Google even released their own mobile-friendly test in order to allow people to test if Google recognizes their site as compatible for the upcoming update.
For some, Google’s push for a mobile and desktop split will change little to nothing. For others, the impact on their website and business will be huge. This isn’t to say that mobile optimization hasn’t been important up until now, as it has affected mobile rankings and results for awhile now, but this push essentially makes it mandatory. Whether you are a top Los Angeles SEO Agency or a plumber in North Dakota, Google wants their search engine and the websites they show to offer a better experience to mobile viewers and a more uniform browsing experience all around in terms of quality. This update will work to highlight and reward those websites that have already made these changes but also further penalize those sites that have not.