Google's mobile-first search indexing is live after lengthy testing

It now uses phone-friendly pages as its main reference point.

Sponsored Links

NurPhoto via Getty Images
NurPhoto via Getty Images

After well over a year of testing, Google is ready to shift some of its search engine foundations to focus on mobile. The company has started the rollout for "mobile-first" search indexing, which uses the phone-optimized versions of pages for indexing and ranking whenever possible. Searchers are "primarily mobile," Google noted, and this should give them a better chance of finding what they wanted.

The company is adamant that desktop-only sites won't vanish from the index, and that phone-optimized sites included in the first wave won't have an advantage over either desktop content or mobile pages that have yet to be included. And if it happens that a desktop site is more relevant to a given search, you'll still see it ranked higher than its mobile alternatives.

Even with all these conditions, there's no question that the tide has turned. Google had already emphasized mobile-friendly pages when searching on phones, but it's now using them as a reference point for the search engine itself. It's a not-so-subtle hint to site creators that they should fine-tune their pages for mobile if they want to stay in sync with Google's priorities.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget