Google Continues Work on a Separate Mobile Search Index

Google Continues Work on a Separate Mobile Search Index pixelwork

Google Continues Work on a Separate Mobile Search Index

Google continues working on its mobile search index, something Google first confirmed last year, although we haven't heard much about it in a year or so. The mobile index would be completely independent of the desktop index and would be for searches done on mobile.

Why is Google working on a unique mobile index? Google's Gary Illyes when speaking in Search Marketing Summit in Sydney He said that although desktop search was still the most used, it would not make sense to use a mobile index. But now that Mobile accounts for more than 50% of searches, this makes a lot more sense.

Illyes said that there are some problems with a moving index. When converting parts of the index from desktop to mobile, there is a loss of tokens that affect ranking, meaning there is an issue with sites ensuring they are in the same ranking with the loss of these tokens. According to Illyes, “We are losing signals when we convert parts of our index into a rolling index, as there are fewer tokens.”


People don't link to mobile content as much as they link to desktop content. Google has found that there are fewer link ranking signals on mobile pages compared to the desktop equivalent. So all this results in is that the page ranking is different when compared to the desktop index.

This was one of the main problems Google encountered last year while working on the mobile index.

The content of the page

Mobile-specific pages are often shorter or truncated when compared to the desktop version. This is quite common, especially for mobile, where there are two (canonical) pages for the same article, only one is not as wide as the other.

But according to Illyes, the content changes are also affecting the rankings as well.

That said, it's sometimes frustrating from a user perspective when they land on a truncated mobile page that doesn't actually find the information they're looking for, because it's only on the desktop version.

Google has been working on the mobile index for two years, and Illyes said that he is not yet missing. Google publicly confirmed the mobile index last year, and revealed a few more details about it. So, while we may not have a definitive answer as to when we might see it, it's good to know that Google is still working on it.