Google Search Index | Mobile First Index and Desktop Information
Learn more about the Google search index. Google is moving towards a mobile-first index which is different than the desktop index we are all used to. Yext can help your business in the index.
The average Google search takes ⅛ of a second to complete. Ever wonder how Google sifts through all of its information? The growing speed and efficiency of Google’s search and results page are astonishing. This ever-growing search index is evolving the way your business lives on the web. Google needs to also be able to determine between what to make available on a desktop, versus what to make available on a smartphone, such as how specific your location may be or to distinguish between directing you towards a desktop or mobile version of your website.?
Traditional Desktop Indexing
A search index is a collection of pages/documents that the search engine has discovered, primarily through crawling the web through links. When search engine crawlers find a web page, search engine systems render the content of the page, just as a browser does. Google takes note of key signals like keywords and content freshness to keep track of it in the Search index.
For example, Google’s Search index contains hundreds of billions of webpages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size. Like the index in the back of a book, the search index contains an entry for every word seen on every web page. When Google indexes a web page, they add it to the entries for all of the words it contains
These entries then appear in search engine results pages or SERPS, and the user is free to select whichever blue link is most appealing. The order of these blue links isn’t random. In fact, it is determined by Google’s sophisticated PageRank formula. To take it one step future, today, with Google’s Knowledge Graph, indexing goes beyond simple keyword matching to better understand the people, places, and things that you search. To do this, Google not only organizes information about web pages but other types of information too such as NAP data, enhanced content and professional credentials. With a carousel at the top of the results page, you can get a more complete picture of what you’re curious about.
As more and more consumers use mobile to search for information and locations, search engines are looking to index its results to represent the majority of their users. For example, in 2016 Google rolled out a new mobile-first index, which ranks its search listings based on the mobile version of content, even for listings that are shown to desktop users. Google previously had crawled the web from a desktop browser point of view, and now Google is changing that to crawl the web from a mobile browser view, which is now its primary search engine index.
What does this mean from a brand perspective? If you have a desktop, Google still crawls your site and indexes it on mobile. What’s important to remember is that content on mobile has a different meaning than content on your desktop so ensuring that your site is mobile friendly and adaptable, will allow Google to consume the proper content and rank your website as well as it did by crawling your desktop site. Another fact includes the expansion of the search index. The Google search index of websites and apps will eventually be a primary source for mobile search versions as well to display a site’s content and thus, rank. Therefore, creating a mobile-friendly and fully functional website is critical. These mobile pages should include the same amount of content and links as your desktop version and all information should be synchronized across all platforms.
How your business can benefit from desktop and mobile indexing
Search engines view brands as the authoritative source of knowledge about their own people, places, and products — after all, no one knows you better than yourself. But if crawlers find that your business’s phone number, address, or hours appear differently on your own site or any other sites they crawl, their trust in your business erodes quickly.
Today, consumers use a diverse list of maps, apps, voice search tools, digital assistants, search engines, GPS systems, and social networks to find and engage with information about your business. As a business owner, are you in control of the answers they see across all these platforms? Today, mobile and voice search is on the rise as more and more people search on their smartphones devices than ever before. In fact, nearly half of searches are now conducted on a smartphone and the category with the highest percentage of mobile search volume was “Food & Beverage,” with 72%. It is crucial for information about your businesses locations to be accurate, up-to-date and fresh. Incorrect location or NAP data within directories wreaks havoc on well-planned local SEO efforts. At worst, this causes a loss of consumer trust. Studies have shown 67% of consumers lose trust in a brand if they get lost en route to a location due to an incorrect address online.
Whether they’re looking for your people, your places or your products, consumers and search engines alike consider your website the authoritative source for facts about your brand. Yext Pages makes it easy to add and update these facts on your website, ensuring that the answers consumers find in intelligent search results are always accurate. With Pages and Listings together, Yext ensures that every source search engines consult confirms what you show on your site — giving crawlers confidence that your site is authoritative and further boosting your SEO.