October 24, 2016 — By Dale Mugford
Recently Google announced it will be switching from a desktop-first to a mobile first search index, this means that Google will be indexing the mobile versions of pages and not the desktop as its primary index.
Where WPtouch fits in
WPtouch webpages are comprised of the same content as your desktop theme, and thus will be picked up appropriately by Google. Only sites which use some other mobile site, or a separate domain (like an m.* domain) might need to make some changes.
Most responsive themes should be ok, but you should always check your website against Google’s Mobile Friendly tool to make sure.
Google has included WPtouch previously on its short-list of solutions for WordPress websites when it comes to mobile. WPtouch sites are mobile-first, mobile friendly and mobile designed themes.
Is Google making the right decision?
Mobile search share continues to grow. It has been over 50% for years now, and shows no sign of letting up. It’s likely the right time to switch and let mobile lead in terms of search and content on the web. We continue to believe that WPtouch remains the top solution for a no-compromises approach to mobile development and WordPress, allowing site authors to keep the best of both worlds— a great desktop presence, plus a smart mobile solution.
What do I have to do?
Nothing! If you’re using WPtouch, all is right in the world. When Google makes the switch we expect WPtouch-powered websites will continue to top mobile search listings around the web.
So what happens for desktop search?
While it’s true that desktop users will see different results it’s likely a good thing, as results will become more accurate for desktop users.
While some have interpreted this to mean that Google is “downgrading” desktop in some way, there are practical reasons why Google would want to prioritize mobile for updates. For one, mobile now accounts for the majority of all Google searches, so using an index that was created primarily for desktop no longer makes sense.
As with everything we do on the web, context matters. We often search differently on mobile than desktop, so having the two behave differently (from an algorithmic perspective) seems like the right approach to us.
When is it happening?
It looks like the new mobile-first search index will be rolling out before the new year, so it won’t take too long to see what happens.