The Google Mobile-Native Index
Hit the reset button. The Google mobile-native index is set to roll out within the next few weeks. Google’s new decision to deploy a mobile search index is an important change for online users and digital marketing organizations.
Google’s Necessary and Brilliant Move
Google’s decision to segment and prioritize a mobile search index is a brilliant move to shore up a weakness in their search franchise. As hubs of online activity grow in size and visitor stickiness – including Facebook and Amazon.com – Google stands to lose the most. Google’s traffic, revenue, prominence, and relevance are all at risk of decreasing as visitors start and stay elsewhere online.
With over half of all Google searches already happening on mobile devices, this focus was a natural. Google’s move to produce a mobile-native search index and position this as primary is strategic and bold.
Traditionally, Google maintained a combined search index that included both desktop and mobile website pages. Recently, the company announced that indexing will now occur separately through distinct mobile and desktop indexes. The Google mobile-native index will be primary – with more frequent updates than the desktop search index. User searches will be directed by Google to the appropriate search index based on the user’s device – e.g., mobile or desktop.
What’s different about a mobile-native search index?
A mobile-native index can focus entirely on identifying and weighing mobile attributes including standards compatibility, user experience, functionality, commerce, content, community and location leverage. Mobile users will soon be spoiled by location-aware, mobile-optimized search results delivered in full context of the user’s device, profile, preferences and history.
Location, weather, browsing history, installed apps, sleep patterns and days of the week are a few factors that may influence search results. Usually dine out on Friday night at the local Chinese restaurant? The Google mobile-native index will suggest Chinese delivery if it’s currently raining. Looking for details of a newly released film? The index will suggest show times at cinemas in your area. By recognizing these factors, this smart search becomes an extension of the user.
Not Everyone Wins
Organizations will need to increase the priority and investments in Search Engine Optimization just to maintain current levels of search prominence and traffic. From the marketers’ perspective, this is a major change that presents equally significant opportunities to advance or fall behind. It means that the relatively stable world of Search Engine Optimization has been turned upside down. The changes to SEO strategies, best practices and techniques are profound.