Google is “probably many quarters away” from launching its mobile-first index. So said Gary Illyes, Google webmaster trends analyst, during a crowded session Tuesday afternoon at our SMX Advanced conference in Seattle.
“It’s going to be a big change, but don’t freak out,” Illyes said.
SEOs and webmasters have been wondering and waiting for a couple years now for news on when the mobile-first index will roll out. Illyes wasn’t able to give an exact answer to that question.
“We don’t have a timeline for the launch yet,” Illyes said. “We have some ideas for when this will launch, but it’s probably many quarters away. Our engineers’ timeline was initially end of 2017. Right now, we think more 2018.”
He also emphasized that Google wants to roll out the mobile-first index in a way that doesn’t hurt non-mobile friendly sites, and that could make a complete launch take even longer.
“We’re thinking about how we can make sure we only include in the mobile-first index sites that won’t be hurt by the mobile-first index. The longer time frame can be several years — maybe five years — before we reach an index that is only mobile-first,” he said.