Google’s Mobile-First Index Is Not Coming Any Sooner Before 2018

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Certainly not an official announcement, but according to what Gary Illyes spoke in SMX Advanced conference in Seattle this Tuesday, it seems that Google is not at all in any hurry in rolling out the mobile-first index any sooner.

The report from search engine land says that though Gary wasn’t able to give an exact answer to the question, he certainly said: “It’s going to be a big change, but don’t freak out”.

“We’re thinking about how we can make sure we only include in the mobile-first index sites that won’t be hurt by the mobile-first index. The longer time frame can be several years — maybe five years — before we reach an index that is only mobile-first” Garry said.

Well, one can carve the implications through these words that Google is very serious about the update and it does not intend to hurt the non-friendly sites either. At least at the beginning. Perhaps the friendly sites would have an upper hand but it doesn’t mean the non-friendly ones would be punished from the day it would be rolled out.

That’s understandable, We even mentioned this in our post “Has the Google started Mobile-First Indexing?”  “Google says, they understand the statistics that confirm the involvement of mobile devices in the major proportion of the queries on Google’s Search Engine. However, the new system will not simply discard the typical look up at the desktop version as it would be an unfair treatment to the websites who use lesser content on mobile pages than the desktop pages.”

Let’s not freak out

From the very beginning itself, Google has clearly specified that mobile-first index would be made permanent only after going through comprehensive experiments and later would be rolled out when the results are confident enough.

So, it’s better not to freak out yet. In fact, there is no need to worry at all as Google has already given a huge time gap and still there is a lot of time left. If you are following the recommendations, it should not affect you even if it gets rolled out today.

Moreover, it’s not the only set of recommendations, it’s a huge change and Google will certainly provide enough of the time, resources, and information before finally rolling out. For the time being, focusing on current guidelines, and the importance of mobile optimization is all you need to think about.

Even if the mobile-first index is not live yet, mobile friendliness is still an important signal tracked by Google’s search engine. So, there is nothing new for you if you are already a wise webmaster moving ahead by going responsive with your site. Because according to what Garry Illyes said it seems having a responsive site is a better option we have got here.

“If you have a responsive site, then you’re pretty much good to go,” he said.

“Why? Because the content on your desktop site will be pretty much the same on your responsive site. The structured data on your desktop site will be the same. There is going to be slight differences in how you present the data, but we’re trying to be prepared.”

Key takeaways

Well, the referred news report on search engine land about the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle gives some updates that should not be ignored. On the whole, with this discussion, we can imply certain points:

  • The update is still many quarters away.
  • Webmasters and website owners need not freak out as they will be given enough time and instructions before hand.
  • It’s not going to punish the non-friendly sites in the beginning. You will get enough time to make the changes.
  • But still, the mobile-friendly sites will do have an upper hand over the non-friendly ones.
  • The content hidden behind “Read More” links on a page via CSS will be able to rank in the mobile-first index.
  • Getting a responsive site seems to be the best option to accommodate your site with the mobile-first index.
  • Though the update is not coming live yet, mobile optimization is still a necessity as one of Google’s top ranking signals.

We still have much of the time, so let’s be patient and keep optimizing for mobile.

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