Google’s (News - Alert) new algorithm, released on April 21, was designed to reward websites that promote user-friendly mobile experiences for users. So websites that are highly responsive, steer clear of clunky multimedia formats like Adobe (News - Alert) Flash, and do not require excessive zooming or horizontal scrolling should not be affected by the change. Mobile websites that are not mobile-friendly will fall lower in Google’s search engine rankings on mobile devices, however.
Following the update, for instance, Tested.com experienced an 89 percent actual loss in mobile visibility. NBCsports.com dropped about 28 percent.
At the same time, some websites received a tremendous boost for their mobile efforts. Foreignaffairs.com received a 771 percent actual gain in mobile visibility. Tvtropes.com increased by 420 percent.
The message is clear: If it is not already mobile-friendly, it’s time to overhaul your business’s website to make sure you do not get punished by Google with lower search engine rankings. While SEO is continuously evolving, and your brand could bounce back if it is negatively impacted by this recent change, you can avoid any difficulties by consulting with your developers and making sure your website is easily usable on a mobile device.
“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps,” Google officials explained in a recent post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog. “As more people use mobile devices to access the Internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.”
Google’s move to encourage strong mobile website functionality is right in line with the mobile-centric direction the company has been moving in over the past several years. In the last few months, marketers have been increasingly advised to overhaul their websites to better optimize for mobile usage. The main difference is that what used to be a competitive advantage in having an efficient mobile website will soon be a necessity for staying relevant on Google. That’s important considering that 80 percent of individuals use smartphones to search the web, while 91 percent use PCs and laptops.
If you’re concerned about your website’s mobile performance, Google lists some helpful resources on its Webmaster Central Blog site, such as its guide to mobile-friendly sites. This important resource offers access to Google’s official Mobile-Friendly Test, which will allow you to analyze any web page URL to see whether its design is mobile-friendly. It also offers advice for ensuring mobile friendliness when working with developers and third-party software providers, as well as tips for taking a deep dive into the technical elements that comprise a website’s mobile friendliness.
Edited by Maurice Nagle