Google’s current search index (that serves both mobile and desktop) is due to be split to offer a better smartphone and tablet experience.

The new mobile search index will be updated on a more frequent basis than the current desktop index, and therefore enable more relevant and up-to-date results for mobile users.

The change is significant as it puts the emphasis on webmasters to ensure sites have fully functional mobile versions…

This better service for mobile users is seen as Google’s attempt to further accommodate the shift towards mobile internet browsing that’s rapidly increased over the last few years. The change is significant as it puts the emphasis on webmasters to ensure sites have fully functional mobile versions in order to retain search placements within the new index.

The news was delivered by webmaster trends analyst at Google, Gary Illyes, at Pubcon online marketing and SEO conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. Illyes also suggested it would be a matter of months before the changes took place.

“In part it is about pushing people to change their sites to be responsive rather than having a separate desktop and mobile site.”

Joost de Valk, of search optimisation firm Yoast.com, said in The Guardian: “It makes sense to me that they’d have two separate indexes and treat them as equals, but now they’ve got a primary one. That makes sense too, because it’s probably the fastest way for them to grow their index.”

“I think in part it is about pushing people to change their sites to be responsive rather than having a separate desktop and mobile site. By saying that their mobile index is more important, it will push people to focus on their mobile sites.”

The changes are a further development of the infamous Mobilegeddon update in April 2015, that saw Google launch its mobile-friendly algorithm change, affecting a large percentage of mobile search queries globally. Factors such as text size and how easy it is to tap links on smartphone screens where all taken into consideration.

The proportion of people who use their mobile handset to access the internet in 2016 is 66%…

The shift towards favouring sites with effective mobile versions looks likely to increase as consumers choose to vote with their thumbs. According to Ofcom (Via the Tech Tracker report) the proportion of people who use their mobile handset to access the internet in 2016 is 66% (up from 57% in 2014). And this trend doesn’t look likely to go anywhere but up.

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