Since November 4, 2016, when Google first officially announced the proposed new Mobile-First algorithm many SEOs have been keeping a watch for signs of both testing and release of the changes in the SERPs. The new algorithm aims to rank websites based on the mobile version of their web page rather than the desktop.
We wrote a detailed summary of the change, its implications, and how you can prepare for the changes here. Mostly, you will need to ensure that all your content and structured markup are visible on the mobile version of your page.
The purpose of the new algorithm is to reflect that increasing numbers of searches are made on mobile, and Google wishes to ensure that its algorithms accurately rank the content that is being served. According to Google:
This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.
When will the new Mobile-First Algorithm be released?
This is the question we all want to know. Fortunately, we do have a glimpse on the timeline Google is working with, thanks to Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, who last week at the Friends of Search conference gave some insight:
Google is working hard on the new algorithm, but Gary has previously clarified that it would take a few more months, and they do not yet have a date for the launch of the mobile-first index.
Gary Illyes previously indicated that they hope for a “close to quality-neutral launch.” Google is keen to get the new algorithm right the first time so as not to disrupt the results too much.
How easy this will be to achieve remains to be seen. What we suspect, though, is that if you are prepared with either a responsive website or properly designed mobile version (to take into account the changes), then you should be ok.