Google’s Mobile First index is aimed to make mobile searches more accurate and streamlined. Currently, it only has one index based on the desktop site. When someone searches on either the desktop or mobile site, the retrieval part of the algorithm looks at the desktop index created by the Googlebot desktop crawler. Results shown on your screen (even the snippets) are based on the desktop index only – the same outcome is displayed on both mobile and desktop.
What is the problem?
Mobile signals collected by the mobile crawler are taken into account as well, after which the rankings are adjusted accordingly. But it often happens that a user clicks on a result after viewing a snippet, is redirected to the mobile homepage of the site and then realises the content they saw in the search snippet isn’t available on the stripped down mobile version. This hitch is extremely common and translates into poor user experience.
What is Google doing?
Google has taken its first step in the direction of mobile-first indexing to avoid issues as mentioned above. This index will crawl through the mobile version of a site’s content and then decide how to index it during a search. If you don’t have a mobile site, Google indexes your desktop site only. In case you have a responsive design, you don’t need to do anything. But it isn’t as simple as it sounds – there is a major roadblock to Google’s Mobile First Index. For instance, what happens when the mobile page has less content than the desktop version? Since the algorithms don’t evaluate the actual page as seen by a mobile searcher, it could lead to incorrect results.
Google’s Mobile First Index is still being treated as an experiment and tested on a small scale over the next few months. Once the bugs are ironed out, Google will be ready to make it available worldwide – no specific time frame has been cited.