Google is at it again: a major algorithm update coming Monday is going to dramatically change the way results appear in the search giant’s results. Just as with Google Panda in 2011, and the Penguin update in 2012, businesses will need to pay close attention to this new algorithm to stay on top of search results.
April 21st marks the official launch date of Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm. This crucial change in search results in all languages across the globe will strongly influence mobile searches. It will expand the use of mobile-friendliness as a “ranking signal,” as quoted by Google Webmasters. Potential customers browsing through mobile search will have an easier time finding pertinent search results upgraded for their devices. This builds upon the progress made by Google App Indexing, which strove to return more relevant results to mobile users by allowing apps to appear in mobile search.
The new algorithm examines mobile compatibility based on each web page, not based on the entire website. In other words, you may have a few pages designed for mobile, but other pages that aren’t up to code. Google analyzes the pages separately and promotes the ones that are set for mobile. Fortunately, if you have a web page that isn’t mobile-friendly and you change it, Googlebot crawls the page again and re-evaluates it instantly.
Another vital detail is that this is affecting only mobile searches, not tablet or desktop. Nonetheless, making it in the mobile world is critical.
Why Going Mobile Matters
Google is still ranked as the most popular search engine, so any changes they make are important to note. Over 1.5 billion internet users are searching on their mobile devices. Approximately 50 percent of Google searches are on mobile devices. If your customers are finding you chiefly through Internet search, this may significantly influence your accessibility. Becoming mobile is no longer a choice. It’s a needed change to help prevent you from dropping in the lower rankings on a potential customer’s smartphone.
For your future and present customers, the algorithm will make searching via mobile a better experience. Your adaptability to their search needs keeps you up to date on the latest changes in the online universe. Making consumers comfortable with your site invites them to do further business with you. Website visitors become annoyed when having to scroll in all directions to read a web page on their smartphones. Mobile-friendly web design takes care of this issue and alleviates irritated users.
So, it’s apparent that major changes are unraveling, but there’s a light at the end of the search engine tunnel. You can take steps to create a mobile-friendly website to maintain visibility in high rankings on mobile devices.
Checking If You’re Mobile-Friendly
Before you start thinking you need a complete mobile makeover, check if your site is already set for mobile use. Here are some recommended options:
- Check Your Phone. You can look for your site on your own mobile device to see if it has the “mobile-friendly” label attached to it.
- Google’s Mobile Usability Report. Running your website through this report in Google Webmaster Tools will give you advice on how to improve mobile use. You can learn how to get a Google Webmaster Tools account if you don’t already have one.
- Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. You can use this test to determine which pages on your website are mobile-friendly. Some discussion has developed over some potential flaws the test may have, but it’s typically a useful meter for a site’s mobile performance.
Enhancing Mobile Experience, Whether You’ve Started It or Not
Even if your site is mobile-friendly, you should still continue improving your users’ mobile experience. Because Google is the master search engine behind this, going straight to them for information is a solid starting place. Here are some resources Google offers to prepare for April 21st:
- Starting From Scratch. If you need an overall mobile renovation, starting at the beginning of Google’s Webmaster Mobile Guide will aid your web success before the algorithm deadline.
- Learning From Mistakes. For businesses that are mobile and ready, review Google’s Avoid Common Mistakes page to check if anything is preventing you from giving your customers the mobile ambiance they deserve.
- Blog Browsing: Keeping up on how to utilize your website is essential. Google’s Webmaster Central Blog provides information on creating stronger websites. You can also look at Google’s official blog to watch for changes and updates as they come.
Despite radical changes, focusing on developing quality content is still key. It’s fantastic to get that “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly” signal, but that doesn’t replace effective content. However, adding the two together equals a sustainable business with a large influx of satisfied customers.
Are you on the move with mobile yet? What do you think about Google’s big change for April 21st? Tell us in your comments!