Google To Split Index Between Mobile & Desktop Searches

Simon JonesGoogle, Stuff

According to Search Engine Land, Google is going to split its index.

Sounds painful.

In reality, Google’s priority on mobile search meant them splitting their index was only a matter of time. The move will see Google continue to cater to the upward trend in mobile searches with a separate index for desktop and mobile.

But first, let me answer the question I know you’re asking.

What is the Google index?

I promise this won’t get (too) technical so stick with me.

There are two key elements to the results you see when you search for something on Google. The first element is crawling which is the ‘algorithm’ or ‘spiders’ that are so widely talked about with Google search. The algorithm/spiders are, essentially, a big bundle of criteria that allow Google to collate and present the most relevant results to the person doing the search. Page titles, content, inbound links…that’s where all that stuff matters.

The second element is indexing.

Once Google has crawled the web for results to a certain search it will add the pages to its searchable index. That means the pages in it’s index are pages it sees as relevant to that search for any further searches. That index is then updated on a regular basis. How regular? It depends. Some indexes for high search volumes are updated regularly and some (usually low traffic searches) are updated more slowly.

What does the split index mean?

Google have confirmed that the new mobile index will be the primary index. That means it’ll be the index that gets updated on a regular basis; therefore mobile users will have access to more recent, more relevant information. Sounds skewed but, when you think about it, mobile searches are usually an impulse search where relevant results are most useful and desktop searches tend to be more research based.

Having the most up-to-date results on mobile makes sense.

What does it mean to you?

At the moment, we’re not 100% sure. Other than announcing that a split index is a real thing, Google have been fairly guarded with any further information. But be sure we’ll have our ear to the ground for any developments that will affect our clients.

If you’ve got any questions about the split index or online marketing in general, give us a shout.