Google: Mobile-First Indexing Unrelated To Search Ranking Algorithm Changes

Oct 10, 2018 • 8:18 am | comments (6) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

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Google's John Mueller said on Twitter that all the recent search ranking algorithm changes we have been following, some confirmed, are "not related to mobile indexing." Some are thinking that all the fluctuations are due to Google ramping up the mobile-first indexing switch over, but Google is saying this is not the case.

Cindy Krum said on Twitter she thought all these ranking changes were related to mobile-first indexing:

I followed up to make sure:

So I asked John Mueller from Google to chime in and he said they are unrelated:

But as we said before, many SEOs do not trust or believe Google:

But in terms of the technical sense of this, as I explained before ranking and indexing are different. Of course, if you have completely different content on mobile versus desktop and Google switching your site to mobile-first indexing, then your rankings will be impacted. But Google was aiming for a quality neutral rollout - did they succeed? Sadly, there is no way for you and I to know. There are just too many variables. But it is super important to know that ranking and indexing are separate beasts. Of course, Google needs to index content in order to rank it. But when Google changes their ranking algorithms, it isn't based on how they index content.

So in short, I personally do not think the algorithm shifts we've seen a lot over the past several weeks are directly related to mobile-first indexing. I do think that some sites may be impacted by mobile-first indexing but the bulk of these changes are independent of indexing. That is my gut feeling before John Mueller of Google chimed in and after he chimed in. But that is my opinion.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Update: After more debate on this topic, John Mueller said again, it is unrelated:

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