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Google’s mobile-first index has been launched

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Update:


Google just announced the launch of mobile-first indexing. The changes to SERPs I describe below can now be used to complicately follow the basics of how Google prepared and subsequently released a mobile-first index. This means that based on our predictions for the upcoming launch, you can see the timeline of the changes Google has made to achieve this. More, you can see what specific steps Google has taken to actually launch a mobile-first index.

In the past few days, we have noticed some major changes in the HTML structure of the mobile SERP. Admittedly, this is not the first time we have seen structural changes in mobile SERPs. The thing is, the last time we did this, Google announced that they were vigorously testing mobile-first indexing. Coupled with the change in the structure of desktop SERPs for the first time in years, you have every reason to assert that, in fact, mobile-first indexing is very close. In fact, we think it is imminent.

The history of SERP structure points to mobile-first implementation

In order for me to fully explain why we think that mobile-first indexing is likely to be close to full rollout (if it hasn’t been rolled out yet), I need to go through some history of SERP structure. By doing this, you will begin to understand why what happened around March 15 (beware of the idea of ​​March) is so important and completely unprecedented.

Mobile SERP version 1: 2016 to fall 2017

Four years back in time.At the time, Google had a unique SERP structure for different Mobile Equipment (i.e. I’m not talking about
desktop Here). Fast forward two years, this kind of equipment diversity was cancelled. Since about 2016, there has been a unified mobile SERP HTML structure and design.We like to call it like this version 1. Version 1 is the unified and standardized incarnation of mobile SERP.Even usually
test Google runs, even with new and deprecated SERP features (ie Notable Online, Mobile Friendly tags, etc.), this version remains stable throughout its tenure.

Digital timeline

Initial release of Version 2 and Mobile First Index: Fall 2017-March 2018

On October 4, 2017, Barry Schwartz of SERoundtable reported that Google is testing mobile-first indexing. Google employee John Mueller also pointed out this in a Google webmaster hangout. At the same time, we reported that Google changed the structure and classifiers of mobile SERPs. Before Google’s announcement, our initial guess was that this change meant a limited release of mobile-first indexing.

Specifically, around October 1, 2017, we started to notice the new structure of the mobile SERP with a new classifier. In fact, the previous mobile SERP structure did not have a “clear” classifier.This new version, we call it Version 2, Did it. We are beginning to see a pattern in which the classifier is rendered as three characters with an underscore prefix (ie _xYz etc.).

At the time, 10%-20% of mobile SERPs were actually the second version. Now, combined with the fact that the introduction of the new mobile SERP version displayed when Google announced the limited mobile first launch and the new version are also very limited, and you have something beyond coincidence.

Version 3 and announcing mobile-first index case release

Now let’s take a look at the purpose of our coming here. The basis of the argument says…Google has released a mobile-first index.

Soon after the arrival of 2018, we noticed another change in the mobile SERP classifier. (Although here, the structure remains exactly the same.) The new classifier is not an underscore followed by three characters, but a six-character structure (ie,
aBcDeF). At the same time, Google did make extensive changes to its Google for Jobs and Local Finder search engines by introducing a new six-digit classifier structure. However, in general, excluding Google for Jobs and Local Finder, this “six-character classifier version” is not common. According to our data, it only occurs about 5% of the time during its peak period.

All this changed around March 15.

On March 15th (or around), someone at Google pressed the button and completely disappeared version 1 and version 2 of the mobile SERP. Google replaced these versions with the six-character classifier format discussed above.This is what we are talking about now Version 3The 3rd edition has the same structure as the 2nd edition, but as mentioned above, the format of the classifier is completely different.

Evolution of the Mobile Priority Index

Version 3 is now the only version we have seen on the mobile SERP, and its launch is global. In line with the structure of version 2 (consistent with the initial release of the mobile-first index), version 3 (only changes to the classifier) ​​appears to be an evolution of the mobile-first index itself. This certainly laid the foundation for its implementation.

The Kicker-The structure of the desktop SERP

Throughout the “History of the SERP Structure”, I deliberately avoided discussing the desktop. However, now is the time to do so.

Structure and classifier of desktop SERP Haven’t changed in four years.

Can you guess when they last changed? That’s right, it’s about March 15th.
Can you guess what the structure and classification of desktop SERPs have become? That’s right, version 3 of the mobile SERP.

So, in addition to the correlation between the new version of the mobile SERP and the launch of the Mobile Priority Index (as happened in October 2017), we are now changing the basic search results on the desktop for the first time in four years. Of course, what has changed in the desktop SERP? It received the same changes that the mobile SERP received on its basis.

I will ask the effect of this question again
…. Has Google launched a mobile-first index?

SERP function-final support?

There is the last part of this puzzle, and that is the SERP function. Our desktop and mobile SERP function tools select the classifiers Google uses in its functions. Therefore, when Google changes these classifiers, we will notice. As early as October 2017, when 10% to 20% of mobile SERPs existed as version 2, we saw some “spots on our SERP function tracking radar”.

With the full release of the 3rd edition, our tracker recorded 9 levels on the Richter scale, not only on mobile devices, but this time, in desktop as well as.

Desktop function:

Knowledge panel

Knowledge Panel Desktop Data

Local package

Local package desktop data

Structured fragment

Structured fragment desktop data

related search

Related searches for desktop data

Mobile function:

(Please note that we captured the classifier changes of some functions on mobile devices in real time and adjusted accordingly. Therefore, not all desktop functions shown above are displayed in the same mode on mobile devices. In these cases, this The class data is not as shown below.)

Knowledge Panel Phone

Knowledge Panel Mobile Data

Local package move

Local packet mobile data

Picture thumbnail move

Image thumbnail mobile data

Website link mobile version

Site link mobile data

Mobile-first launch or preparation?

Mobile tool

Does the launch of the third version of the mobile version (now the desktop version) of SERP mean that Google is about to launch a mobile-centric index? Of course, we cannot say anything with 100% certainty. Will the emergence of version 3 point to the actual release of the mobile-first index? We cannot prove. However, this concept makes some sense. Think like this. The second version of the mobile SERP is indeed parallel to the limited release of the Mobile First Index. Now that version 2 has disappeared, it makes more sense. Did Google withdraw the original mobile-first version or did version 3 go a step further? Consider that version 3 and version 2 maintain the same structure.

What I want to say is that if the index is indeed launched, it will be very interesting considering that Google is only saying that it will let websites know when to switch to mobile-first indexing. This is also in line with Google’s own timetable, because at the end of February 2017, they announced that they would include more sites in the mobile-first index in the “coming weeks.” March 15th will fit the schedule very well.

One thing is for sure when launching or setting up. Some major things have happened to both desktop and mobile SERPs, which will naturally lead to mobile-first implementation. How could it be an accident?

About the author

Modi Oberstein

Mordy is the official liaison between Wix and the SEO community. Although Modi has many and far-reaching responsibilities, he still first considers himself an SEO educator. This is why you will find that he regularly publishes various original SEO research and analysis!

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