Google plans to roll out its mobile-first indexing in stages, although the timing remains unknown. That's the word from John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google, during the most recent weekly Webmaster Central Office Hours Hangout.
Search experts and webmasters have been wondering about the rollout date for years, with little feedback from Google other than to say it's on the way. Despite the lack of information on the timing, Mueller did offer up insights into the road map and tests being done to prepare.
He said Google engineers have been creating classifiers to ensure the mobile pages are equivalent to the desktop pages and that sites do not experience negative effects from the switch.
"These are things we need to test with real content," Mueller said. "We can't just make up pages and say, well, this is kind of like a normal web page. We have to see what happens when we run it with real content."
Mueller wasn't sure whether search experts will be able to see the live tests running these days, but at some point a few aspects might become more visible. Similar to many other search experiments, these are nuances that people usually don't notice.
The classifiers aim to identify common problems. Google then will publish blog posts on the topics to explain what they see, so search experts and webmasters are aware of what they should keep an eye on and issues they should fix.
When Google identifies a major problem, someone will reach out to the website directly or message them to provide information on the specific issues and how to resolve them before a deadline.
"Some of the changes are not easy to make, and we want to provide sufficient time," he said.