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    Gary Illyes says Google is switching from using the desktop index to the mobile index


    Gary Illyes from Google (essentially the new Matt Cutts) closed out the week with a 45 minute or so keynote kind of session w/ Q&A.

    He stated that currently Google ranks mobile pages based on links & content in Google's desktop index. However, he went on to say that in the coming months they plan to flip flop that, and the mobile index will become the primary index and will be used to rank both the mobile and desktop SERPs. The desktop index will become a secondary, fall-back index that will be updated MUCH less often.

    He recognized that they will lose some signals because there is less content on a typical mobile site and that they will lose lots of structured data unless webmasters modify their mobile sites to rendered structured data.

    If you're using an m. or .mobi domain, there will be MAJOR implications as those sites almost never acquire links like their desktop counterparts. Not an issue for Responsive sites as both mobile and desktop sites share the same URLs.

    How do you plan to prepare for this?

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    • DirectHits agrees : Thanks for the post..
    Last edited by deadpebbley; Oct 21st, 2016 at 06:55 AM.
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    I don't know...

    Not good news and I would expect a lot of changes in ranking when it happens.
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    I would hazard a guess that making sure all of our landing pages are AMP ready will be vital. It woudl seem that structured data for mobile op is also going to have to be on point as well. And ofc a site needs to be responsive and speedy. Goes without saying really
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    I am not yet a big believer in AMP for 'most' websites, but this is no doubt big news..
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    A little extra reading:

    1. Google Search Switching to Mobile First Index from Desktop Index

    2. Google Adds New AMP Testing Tool

    3. WebmasterWorld's thread on the topic

    Losing content signals and ranking desktop sites based on a mobile index seem like...very weird choices. I know they've been working on a mobile index for ages, but it all feels like a total surprise and so uncertain now that it's actually happening.
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    I do wish people would stop singing the praise of AMP like its the 2nd coming.
    AMP is way off being useful for a lot of sites. Static landing pages fair enough but there is so much functionality still missing that it currently makes it pretty useless. Not saying it may not become something special but its a long way off so far.

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    IMHO
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    I find that if you plan your site design with mobile first, then make any necessary css changes, (I prefer using viewport queries rather than bootstrap) and then

    Minifi the html
    Compress all images ( this does cause some resolution loss, but nothing I can't live with)
    Avoid redirects as much as possible, I reserve most of my redirects for Https and 404 errors, other than that I avoid redirects as much as possible.

    Then I find my mobile rankings are just a bit better than my desktop rankings. Not much mind you, maybe a position here or there, maybe 1 or 2 additional words appearing on page 1. So for me
    I don't see this change Google has planned will bother the sites I take care of. But for those that have not prepared, there will be a world of hurt and folks are not going to understand the why when their rankings fall a little.

    Reason that I avoid bootstrap is the off-site loading and fetches the browser has to make. The fewer http loads your site takes is a factor I see that will become more and more important and possibly become a bigger ranking signal.

    With stripped down html for amp, I see a lot of site changes coming and folks having issues with canonical problems. Amp pages will probably become a de-facto standard to rank any site very soon

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