Google to desktop owners: You're about to get staler search results than mobile users

Google will soon introduce a mobile index for search, which will eventually become its primary way of delivering results.

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The logic of the move for Google is that mobile devices are now the main place users conduct search.

Image: Laurent Delhourme, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Google is breaking out a mobile-only search index that will deliver more up-to-date results to smartphones than the ones it gives desktop users.

According to Search Engine Land, Google will soon start indexing search results for mobile separately to the desktop, and the mobile version will be its primary index. The change is expected to happen within months.

This move follows the changes that Google implemented in its algorithm last year, which made mobile-friendly a ranking signal in search.

The move would make sense for Google given that mobile devices are the main place users conduct search these days.

Mobile overtook the desktop for Google searches last October, when it was averaging 100 billion searches a month. The company has prepared for the switch to mobile in a variety of ways, including its work in voice recognition, the AMP project that lets users select lighter web pages, indexing apps, and the use of more visual carousels in mobile search.

Google plans to maintain a separate indexing system for desktop, but that won't be updated as frequently as the mobile index, according to Search Engine Land.

The mobile index may allow Google to use its ranking algorithm differently for mobile content, rather than relying on data from desktop content to rank mobile sites, it notes.

Google hasn't provided a detailed breakdown of what it will involve. However, attendees at the Pubcon Las Vegas conference where it revealed the plans tweeted some details that suggest it will be advantageous for mobile-friendly sites.

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