When Google launched its search engine, Internet users were connecting to computers. But little by little, traffic from computers was overtaken by traffic from mobile devices. And to adapt to this change in usage, Google has constantly modified its search engine algorithm to favour sites that are optimised for smartphones and tablets. In 2015, Google has decided to favour “mobile-friendly” sites whose interface allows a good user experience on small screens. And since 2018, Google’s algo also favours the fastest loading pages, as this is important when browsing on a smartphone.
And more recently, the firm has also announced the transition of its index to the “mobile-first”. When Google was created, its algorithm ranked web pages according to the content that is accessible on computers. However, it is possible that a page may not display the same thing on a computer and on a mobile phone.
Sites indexed according to the mobile version
The mobile-first indexing consists in no longer taking into account the content displayed on computers, but the content displayed on mobiles. The deployment of this new feature is being done gradually. And normally, this deployment should have been finalized in September 2020.
But finally, Google decided to postpone this deadline to 2021, because of the pandemic. “”Mobile-first indexing has been an ongoing effort by Google for several years. We have enabled mobile-first indexing for most of the sites currently being explored and have enabled it by default for all new sites. Our initial plan was to enable mobile-first indexing for all sites in Search by September 2020. We realize that in these uncertain times, it’s not always easy to focus on work, so we decided to extend the deadline until the end of March 2021,” said Yingxi Wu, a team member working on this new Google indexing.
This is not the first time that Google has postponed a change that affects websites because of the pandemic. In April, Google had also suspended the implementation of a new cookie classification system. Then, the resumption of the deployment of this system was announced in May.