Recently, the SEO community took to Facebook and Twitter to discuss the sudden incorporation in mobile-first inclusion notices from Google Search Console. The SEO community cited sufficient anecdotal evidence that suggests a widespread reform in Google’s mobile-first index.
In fact, many SEO pundits are simultaneously reporting a massive influx of email alerts from Google Search Console that their websites have immigrated to Google’s mobile-first index.
Madness! It's madness, I tell you! pic.twitter.com/MCm9AGuBai
— Alan Bleiweiss (@AlanBleiweiss) September 19, 2018
It seems that Google decided to push the Mobile-First indexing button… practically every site I follow in search Console is now mobile-first
— Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) September 19, 2018
Judging by the amount of GSC emails I have in my inbox… Mobile First Indexing is heeeeerrrreeeee pic.twitter.com/yWNYl2i8In
— Jennifer Holzman (@IAmJHolzman) September 19, 2018
— Beanstalk IM (@beanstalkim) September 19, 2018
So, what gives?
Is Google updating its mobile-first index?
Is This a Google Mobile-First Indexing Update?
Yes. Google’s mobile-first index appears to be growing. This impromptu update isn’t by any means an update to Google’s existing algorithm. An update on that scale would indicate a change in Google’s central ranking algorithm. What the SEO community is likely noticing is a change to Google’s mobile-first index that is used as a precursor to its ranking process. Generally speaking, many Google Search Console users have noticed that their websites are being incorporated into Google’s mobile-first index.
This news indicates that Google’s mobile-first index is indeed growing, but there isn’t much clarity as to why this is happening all of a sudden.
Is a Major Google Algorithm Update in the Forecast?
Google never announces upcoming updates, especially to its indexing algorithm. That is evidenced by this sudden occurrence. Google regularly updates its algorithm without any warning on a daily basis, often in subtle ways that aren’t likely to be detected by SEO experts. It’s possible Google may arbitrarily decide to revamp its and re-rank its current mobile-index, but that’s just speculation at this point.
What Will a Google Algorithm Update Look Like?
At this moment, that’s anyone’s guess. Google has been hinting for a while that it planned to create a more rigid emphasis on mobile-first indexing. Although, if Google actually updated its algorithm to prioritize mobile search, there would likely be a sudden paradigm shift of today’s current rankings.
For example, Google has warned webmasters to optimize their mobile website versions to feature quick page speed and host similar content to desktop versions. Failure to adhere to this warning could have significant consequences that could negatively affect a violator’s ranking in their local SERPs.
Theoretically, if Google decided to suddenly change their algorithm to vigorously enforce this rule, many websites would suffer. In fact, the algorithm update would likely only be explicitly noticed by websites that have suboptimal mobile website versions. Then again, this is only a conjecture based on Google’s past behavior. Nonetheless, there has been some talk that Google will begin to rank mobile-friendly websites higher and punish websites that don’t offer rich mobile experiences.
Since Google hasn’t announced any significant changes to its algorithm, the only viable thing to do now is wait on a more concrete indication of an algorithm change formally announced by Google. If you haven’t done so already, take this time to properly optimize your mobile site.
Google hasn’t released any written statement as of this writing. In a nutshell, Google has only appeared to have increased the size of their mobile index. What happens next is unclear.