Friday, October 14, 2016

Big News: Google's Primary Index Will Now Be Mobile-Based

Every new website or blog must be crawled and indexed before appearing in search engine results. For most search engines, this process is similar:
  1. A web crawler (aka: a web spider or bot) follows links within websites and between websites to copy pages for search engine processing. 
  2. The search engine then indexes the copied pages, sorting each page by certain keywords and/or metadata to make the page available to browsers.
For a search engine like Google, this process is exhaustive. According to Google's own numbers, the search engine now includes over 60 trillion pages; the index is over 100 million gigabytes.

Even then, of course, 60 trillion does not represent the total number of pages on the Internet. Writing for the Tennessean, JJ Rosen claims: "Google's index represents only an estimated 4 percent of the information that exists on the Internet."

The rest of the pages, Rosen writes, exist in the "Deep Web," which "consists of everything from unpublished blog posts to public websites that require use of a search field to get information back."

So why are some sites indexed and some are not? As the crawler follows links across the Internet, it should confront specific instructions from each link:
  1. Index and follow the link 
  2. Follow the link but do not index 
  3. Do not index and do not follow
These instructions are built into links by webmasters. However, even with these instructions, a a search engines may or may not index the page.

If the crawler discovers spam, for example, it removes the offending page. As Google notes in its How Search Works infographic, the search engine "fights spam 24/7 to keep your results relevant." However, the search engine also takes steps to allow webmasters to remedy the spam: "When we take action," Google says, "we attempt to notify the website owners." Site owners can then fix the offending pages and let Google know about the fix.

Yet spam is not the only reason a website might not be indexed. The process of crawling and indexing, in fact, highlights the importance of using knowledgeable web designers and web developers. A simple mistake can prevent Google from crawling and indexing your site.

When performing SEO, you must ensure that no page contains any mistakes or spam elements. Good SEO specialists understand how to work with Google's algorithm to meet the search engine's quality standards.

Is your site in the index?

To  perform a Google index check, search for "site:mywebsite.com".

Does your site appear?

If Google is missing some of your pages, your webmaster can create and submit a sitemap. Again, however, you want to make sure you're dealing with a knowledgeable webmaster. Mistakes can be costly.

For more information on proper design and development, read our guide to building a website as well as our companion articles on website development.

Also, Google's Webmaster Guidelines are an invaluable resource for website owners and webmasters alike.

Google's index isn't much different, in spirit, from a library card catalog [Photo Source]

Google Announces New Mobile-Only Index

We're talking about the Google index today because the search engine recently announced a major change. Until now, Google has had a single index for search results. However, as Search Engine Land reported this week, Google will now divide its index in two, between desktop and mobile, and mobile will be the primary index.

The SEO world is full of speculation about how this change will effect Google's efforts to crawl and index sites. As Search Engine Land writes:

"The most substantial change will likely be that by having a mobile index, Google can run its ranking algorithm in a different fashion across “pure” mobile content rather than the current system that extracts data from desktop content to determine mobile rankings."

Of course, as above, success in this new environment will be dependent on the quality of your design, development, and SEO efforts.

Is your site optimized for mobile? We've been asking this question since at least 2014, when Google began to place an increasing preference on "mobile-friendly" sites.

Read our article from that time, "Mobile SEO in 2014: What You Need to Know." The information is still valid--more valid and important in light of Google's recent announcement.

Need Mobile SEO Help? Call Stepmans PC!

Search is now a mobile game! To navigate the new rules of mobile SEO, you need an SEO specialist that understands Google's guidelines. If you sell a high-quality product that deserves customers, you also deserve a well-optimized mobile site.

Do not let the changing search landscape compromise your sales. Now, more than ever, you need the astute wisdom of a professional search engine optimization professional.

Stepmans PC is now offering a free mobile website audit. Call Stepmans PC today to learn how you can improve your website's mobile performance: 215-900-9398.

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