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December 20, 2016

Google Prioritizing Mobile Search Over Desktop Search

By Special Guest
Alex Pop, Writer on behalf of Chive

Due to the fact that Americans spend more time on mobile than on desktop, Google is now prioritizing its search engine to be mobile first and desktop second. The news broke at Pubcon in Las Vegas on October 13, 2016. Google’s senior representative Gary Illyes confirmed in his keynote speech that Google will be creating a separate mobile index which will be it’s primary index. Google has essentially said that mobile search is more important than desktop search.

Mobile > Desktop
What does this mean for consumers, online vendors, marketers, and SEO-o-philes everywhere? It means that the PC is no longer the absolute center of Google’s search universe. It means that the mobile device version of a web page will take precedence over the desktop version. Desktop will be a secondary index, which is less up to date.

Why is Mobile Search Such a Priority?
In the past, Google’s ranking system typically looked at the desktop version of a page’s content in order to evaluate its relevance to the user. This caused problems when the mobile page had less content, slow load times, bad formatting, or, in general, did not deliver upon the information promised on the desktop site. Now, with more mobile users than desktop users, Google is attempting to stay relevant by cataloging the data obtained from the mobile experience first.

When Will the Rollout Take Place?
Illyes confirmed that the mobile first rollout will take place in a few months. In reality, Google has been making the transition for quite some time. SEO experts will recall that the banner advertising industry was in for a surprise back when Google announced Mobilegeddon in April 2015. In reality, this change will likely take years until it goes into full effect.

Who Will be Affected?
Websites that have a site configuration where the primary content is different across mobile and desktop will need to change. Mobile sites that are stripped down versions of desktop sites will need to be improved. Google aims to fix bad user experience through this move as it ranks down mobile sites that spawn newsletter popups and app store redirects. This means that websites that have mobile pages that don’t include the same content as desktop pages will be hurt.

Why Does Google Keep Changing the Formula?
If you’re a hardworking small business who recently got online in the last few years, you may be wondering why Google keeps changing its formula. One day you’re ranking #3 on the front page in your local area, the next day you’re ranking #33, relegated to the third page (a place much less frequently visited by search users).

Why does Google keep changing the formula, especially as people and organizations get comfortable? The short answer is “because they can.” The other short answer is “because they can make money from doing so through the selling of courses and coveted Premium Partner badges.” The long and politically correct answer is “because Google is trying to make information as searchable as possible.” And this is true to a large extent.

Each month Google processes 100 billion queries. However, only 85 percent of those return results. The other 15 percent of the queries, numbering 500 million, have never been seen by Google’s search engine before (Source).

By moving its indexing over to mobile search, Google is hoping to go where the traffic is, and deliver more relevant information at faster speeds.

However, as mentioned in a previous post on IoTEvolution, the company realizes that e-commerce businesses will be hurt in the process of a continually changing mobile search system. Innovation is a double edged sword.

About the Author: Alex Pop is a writer on behalf of Chive, an e-commerce vendor of modern pottery, vases, and terrariums. He enjoys educating people on ways they can create better ambiance in their home through floral arrangements and eco-friendly art. Find out how Chive is adapting to changes in e-commerce technology here.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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