5 Burning questions about Google’s new mobile friendly algorithm.
In little more than 24 hours Google techies will unleash their new mobile friendly algorithm aimed to ensure websites are more mobile friendly. This latest algorithm follows hot on the heels of previous major algorithm updates such as Hummingbird (Aug 2013), Penguin (April 2012) and Panda (Feb 2011) and just like it’s illustrious predecessors has been designed with the goal of delivering high quality content to users. The difference this time however is that the content being delivered is specific to users searching on a mobile device. In a nutshell, mobile optimized sites will show up more prominently during mobile search than a non- mobile optimized site.
1. What will change?
At the moment the mobile ranking of a website tends to be tied to the ranking strength of the desktop site. If you rank well on a desktop SERP, you will usually rank well on a mobile SERP as well. There has always been a suggestion by Google that the mobile-friendliness of your website could impact your organic rankings. This suggestion is about to become fact.
On April 21, 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 – Google
2. How will the new mobile algorithm affect my business?
Let’s assume you’re a business owner who sells Sunglasses Online. Let’s also assume that your business ranks highly in organic search for a number of keywords across desktop, tablet and mobile. As a result of this success you receive a lot of traffic to your site resulting in a generous number of inquiries and/or sales.
From 21st April, your business may not show up during mobile search unless your site is mobile responsive or you have a separate mobile site. Competitor sites who have optimized their sites may leapfrog you in the pecking order or conversely drop down the pecking order if they have not. It’s important to note that this change only affects mobile search and not desktop or tablet.
3. Why are Google targeting mobile?
It’ll be of no surprise to hear that mobile use has exploded over the last 10 years. In fact The Communications Marketing Report 2014 published statistics showing that Smartphone usage has risen from 39% in 2011, to 51% in 2012 and 61% in 2013. Google, just like any business has to keep one step ahead of its competitors. By implementing these changes it sticks by its mantle of delivering quality content in a quality format. If Google delivered poor quality search results by serving up websites that were difficult to navigate or read, users would become frustrated, Google search would lose credibility and customers would likely use another search engine.
4. Does anyone buy anything using a mobile phone?
Yes and no – In today’s society where households have been shown to navigate the web across a multitude of platforms, Mobile has been shown to play an important role in a consumer’s decision making process.
Research has shown that generally an individual will turn to their mobile phone first thing in the morning, their desktop during the day whilst in work and their tablet during the evening. If you’re in the market for a pair of sunglasses you may well start your buying journey first thing in the morning on your mobile and finally purchase your sunglasses in the evening on your tablet after having completed your research during your lunch break on your desktop. It’s probably also fair to say that if you visit 3 sites on your mobile, 2 of which are poorly designed and difficult to read it’s likely you would dismiss these sites at an early stage of your research and return to the one that’s easier to navigate.
Remember, as online consumers we are very fickle. Dont give potential customers a reason to navigate away to a competitor site.
5. As a business owner what should I be doing?
Google have been warning Webmasters of the need to upgrade their clients websites for some time during the lead up to this algorithm release. Any SEO company worth their monthly fee will have discussed any change requirements with you already. If you are still unsure as to whether your site is mobile friendly (in the eyes of Google) you can test it out by using Google’s mobile friendly test. You can also read Google’s mobile guidelines here.
Personally, I’d recommend you discuss the outcome of this test with your SEO Company to see what changes, if any, need to be made. Ensure that you stay one step ahead of your competition. Mobile is not going away and neither are Google. It’s wise to keep ahead of the game.
Paul Rees is the Director of Digital Marketing at Red Kite Digital Ltd, Cardiff, UK
For further information or a free consultation regarding your website and SEO needs contact Red Kite Digital Ltd. on 02920 530745