The Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm
(No, you are not imagining this! We are blogging at ya on an odd day.)
Today is April 21st, the day of the long anticipated release of the Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm. The term ‘Mobile-Geddon’ has been hyped and overused for the past few months; a news station in Texas started yesterday’s evening news with it. Not since Y2K has there been such a buzz! So what exactly is going on, and how much will it affect your business? Let’s take a look at what all this actually means to the average business.
Beginning on April 21st Google is shaking up its search engine algorithm by bringing mobile to the forefront by using mobile-friendliness as a key ranking signal in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Even if you have been in business for only a few years, you will have firsthand experience with the shakeups caused by previous algorithm rollouts like Google Panda, Penguin or Pigeon. There is no official nickname as of today for this new algorithm, but its consequences could be far more sweeping than Panda and Penguin.
What Is The Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm?
In February Google announced in this blog post:
“We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
What The Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Means
“As early as now, we can expect that Google’s mobile update will be bigger than its predecessors.”
“With this update webmasters and site owners should prepare themselves for a potentially massive shift in mobile search functions at the very least.”
We know that Google puts great stock in mobile; they are the world’s largest mobile search provider, and they own the largest app store through Android. This leads us to the consensus that non-mobile optimized pages will drop drastically in mobile rankings; maybe even on desktop results.
Does The Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Apply to You?
Yes, and no! With yes we mean that you really should have a responsive, mobile-friendly website in 2015. (If you are still not sure we will cover this in our next blog post, so stay tuned.) And yes, websites that are not mobile-friendly will start taking a serious hit today.
But you should keep in mind that not all of your traffic comes from mobile consumers, and that not all the mobile traffic you do receive actually converts into sales. Depending on your specific industry that may only be a small fraction of your sales volume.
And remember that if you missed today’s deadline you can update your site to be mobile friendly at any time, and immediately get all the ranking benefits. It may even take the Google bots a few weeks to find your site.
So should you update your business website to responsive web design as soon as possible? Absolutely, we highly recommend it. Will the world end in ‘Mobile-Geddon’ today? Absolutely not, we have plans for the rest of the week! So relax, will you?
Google’s New Algorithm is All About Mobile
If you look at the analytics data for your website, you can probably see that an increasing amount of the traffic you receive is coming from mobile devices. Since mobile has continued to grow and will only continue to do so, Google is putting a lot of resources into providing the best possible mobile experience for searchers.
Here are some highlights:
- A key feature of Google’s mobile update is that it looks at mobile friendliness on an individual basis, rather than looking at a site as a whole.
- According to Google’s Gary Illes, the new mobile algorithm functions as a real-time mechanism, so even if you do not optimize your site before the April 21st deadline, you can still upgrade at any time and benefit from the update, unlike in previous Panda and Penguin updates.
- Google’s mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will officially include mobile-friendly usability factors and app indexing. Making sure your site is mobile-friendly is now more important than ever.
- Mobile users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their viewing devices.
- More than a penalty, the mobile update focuses on a ranking boost.
- The mobile update does not affect tablets – for now.
- The mobile update will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed.
- If you are worried that Google’s transition to prioritizing mobile requires changes in thought when it comes to SEO, you can relax! Some features of desktop optimization are good for mobile, too.
Preparing for The Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update
Are You Mobile-Friendly?
If you are not sure if your business website is ready for the Google mobile-friendly algorithm update here is what you can do:
Check your site’s mobile-friendly status using Google Webmaster Tools: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ (Note: Mobile-friendly pages will be labeled mobile-friendly.)
Check to see how your site looks like on a variety of mobile devices in real time (not a screen shot) using Responsinator: http://www.responsinator.com
What Your Business Needs to Do About Mobile
If you are really worried here are things business owners can do right away to identify any shortcomings on their own websites as well as to stay up-to-date and informed:
- Check for mobile usability problems using one of the above tools.
- Keep an eye on your Google Analytics data starting today and take note of any sudden drops in traffic.
- Read Google’s Mobile SEO Guide: https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/
- Be active on Google’s discussion boards to keep abreast of the latest developments.
- Don’t panic! Call us instead!
The Long-Term Effect of The Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm
While some aspects of search engine optimization can definitely be confusing, a big component of SEO is keeping up with trends and understanding what Google wants to deliver to its searchers. As Google is focusing on mobile, responsible web designers and business owners need to do the same.
Specifically, your business needs to have responsive web design for your business website. This type of web design ensures that your site is mobile-friendly. Additionally, it’s important for mobile apps to be properly optimized for App Indexing. Since Google is integrating apps into their mobile search results, now may be the ideal time for your business to invest in mobile app development.
Our team will ensure that your business website is ready for the Google mobile-friendly algorithm update. Our experienced web design team can create a fully responsive mobile-friendly website for your brand. And our SEO strategists will fine-tune your mobile search for maximum results. Why not request your free estimate for complying with the Google mobile-friendly algorithm update today?
And if you are still not sure about how the Google mobile-friendly algorithm applies to your business don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and make sure that your small business has all of the mobile-friendly SEO benefits it needs. That is one of our specialties, after all!
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