- At the Pubcon conference this week, Google revealed it will create two separate search indexes for the first time, with mobile serving as the primary one, Search Engine Land reports.
- The new index will launch within months, the publication later confirmed with Google.
- A key differentiator for the mobile index will be more up-to-date results than for desktop, although further details were not revealed about how the new index will work.
The volume of mobile search queries surpassed desktop more than a year ago, a tipping point Google prepared for well in advance by giving preference to mobile-friendly sites in results, among other strategies. Still, splitting its search efforts into two is an unprecedented move — one that Google first started experimenting with a year ago, according to the Search Engine Land report.
The development points to just how different the desktop and mobile search experiences are, with mobile users often seeking more nearby and immediate results. With two separate indexes, Google will be better able to fine-tune results for each use case.
Making mobile the primary search index also suggests that while desktop is still a significant part of search, Google expects mobile’s role to keep expanding and take primacy.
Providing mobile users with fresher results shows Google remains focused on enhancing the search experience for these users. The company is betting that an overall better experience will enable it to charge more for paid results on mobile, which have traditionally cost less than desktop, a trend that has taken a bit out of the company’s search revenue.
Google is also looking to bolster its standing in search as Facebook and others eye opportunities to grab a piece of the pie on mobile. A mobile-first index would join Google’s AMP project for delivering faster mobile pages in the company’s effort to provide users with a better mobile experience.