According to Gary Illyes, Google is “probably many quarters away” from launching its first index.  This was said during a session on Tuesday after noon at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle.

“It’s going to be a big change, but don’t freak out,” Illyes said.

SEOs and webmasters have wondered and waited a several years for news on the timeline of the mobile-first index roll out.  Illyes wasn’t able to give any exact information on the 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.”

It was emphasized by Illyes that Google wanted to roll out the mobile-first index in a way that won’t hurt non-mobile friendly sites.  This 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.

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

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