Google released sweeping changes to its search algorithm on Tuesday, giving mobile-friendly websites a boost on smartphones. In its mobile search results, Google (GOOGL, Tech30) now favors websites that adjust for smaller screens.
Google mobile algorithm update will influencing the display of organic results on mobile devices. As the changes will start taking effect in the next few weeks. Web sites failing to perform well on mobile devices will be harder to find on these devices. Some might effectively disappear from small screens entirely.
It seems like an obvious tweak, but it has website operators scrambling to keep their sites listed high up in the search rankings. As with all Google algorithm tweaks, some will benefit, and others will lose out.
Here's everything you need to know about Google's changes, which some have labeled "Mobilegeddon."
“This change,” wrote Google in a February 26 update to its Webmaster Tools Blog, “will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” On bulletin boards and comment areas, speculation turned to who would win — and who would lose — when the algorithm change begins to be felt in a few short weeks.
On this occasion I don’t blame Google for trying to show correctly formatted web pages when the search is being done on a smartphone. Google wants a faster, smoother experience for mobile searchers. It does its part — by putting powerful analytics tools in the hands of the public and the marketing community. But the burden of doing the work: the actual business of ripping out sub-optimized or mobile-dysfunctional guts of a given site installation and turning bloated sites into athletes — lies with the individual entrepreneur.
What exactly will these changes entail?
Starting this week, Google’s algorithms (the processes and formulas that turn your search query into results) will be taking into account whether or not a website is mobile-friendly, and adjusting search rankings accordingly. The intention is to make it easier for people to find the high quality content they are looking for in a format that is accommodating to the device they’re using. Ultimately, websites that are not mobile-friendly will not rank as highly in mobile search results. Therefore, if you are running a DNN, WordPress, Joomla, etc.. that is old and runs an old style template designed for desktop and tablets only, then the site will be penalized heavily for not displaying the menu and text and images correctly.
Referring to the upcoming update, Google said:
“As more people use mobile devices to access the Internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns…This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
To give you an idea of how much of an impact this algorithm will have, Google’s Webmaster Trends team stated that the launch will have more of an impact on mobile search than the recent Panda and Penguin updates did. Panda 4.1 was launched back in September in an effort to minimize low quality content from search results, and Penguin 3.0 went live in October to target spammy sites that violate Google’s linking rules. For those of you that have mobile-friendly sites, you could potentially see your mobile rankings improve quite a bit (nice!), but for sites that are not compatible your ranking will drop (not so nice).
How to prepare for this update
There are two main approach that our clients take. Some for the short term create a microsite that behaves correctly on smartphones and on page load send the smartphone users to that microsite. And the more correct approach is to use an advanced responsive template that uses the state of art techniques like Bootstrap 3.3 to adapt to screen sizes on page load. you can check to see if your website is compatible through this free Google Webmaster tool. Simply enter your website’s URL and Google will report their findings within a matter of seconds.
Next, you will want to look into the load times for various web pages to ensure that content will load quickly on all devices. Websites that take more than a few seconds to load on a mobile device see bounce rates upwards of 74%, so you want to make sure the content on your site loads quickly and correctly. Again, Google provides a free tool to analyze your site.
The trend towards a mobile-dominated search industry is stronger than ever, and Google’s update is a clear indication of that. I think it’s safe to say that we can expect more developments in the future from Google and other search engines when it comes to mobile.
Here are the most frequently seen by Google:
These are some of the things at Salaro we can do for you;
- Unplayable content
- Faulty redirects
- Mobile-only 404s
- App download interstitials
- Irrelevant cross-links
- Slow mobile pages
- With any lucky, you’ve gotten a cheerful “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly” at the end of your report.
1. You’re using Flash in a way that’s problem on mobile (for example, a Flash-based Amazon affiliate link in one of your sidebars). Check to make sure that you don’t have odd Flash elements firing away in old pages or posts.
2. You have render-blocking scripts on your pages that need to be moved or reorganized. This is a common problem with sites that have added features over the years to become “stickier.” Google recently made it much easier for site owners to identify and fix this kind of common error.
3. Your low-cost deal with your hosting provider is hampering you (you might have to move from a shared to a dedicated hosting plan if this is the case).
5. You could speed up performance by better use of browser caching. So ideally bloated pages with heavy graphics are not advisable
6. You could compress the images and/or other resources on your site.
PageSpeed insights will give you exactly the information you need to make things better. Even if your score isn’t perfect, you only have to be better than sites in your competitive category to win the mobile visibility wars. Use the 80/20 rule to focus on “low-hanging” fruit issues that can be solved quickest at the lowest cost.
1. With the changes, only smartphones impacted. Google's search results on desktop and tablets will be unaffected by the new algorithm. But it's still a big impact. Mobile makes up about half of all Google searches.
2. Website operators had more than two months to prepare. Usually, Google doesn't pre-announce algorithm tweaks. But Mobilegeddon could have such a dramatic impact on mobile search results that Google opted to give businesses time to get ready.
3. Algorithm changes can be nasty. Many businesses rely heavily on Google to send traffic to their websites. Google controls two-thirds of the U.S. search market, and when Google changes its code, companies have to scramble to relearn how to optimize their sites for Google's search.
4. Websites can adjust on the fly. Unlike previous algorithm tweaks, websites can upgrade their "mobile-friendliness" at any time to appear higher in Google's search results -- it doesn't have to be done on Tuesday. Google also said that the algorithm tweaks will be rolled out over the course of a few weeks, so the changes might not immediately be noticeable anyway.
5. Some mobile-unfriendly sites could still get favorable search placement. Google's algorithm judges sites based on numerous criteria, of which mobile-friendlness is just one. The company's aim is to provide the most relevant results, even if it's to a site that isn't optimized for mobile.
Call us today or use our quote page and let us give you a fixed price on getting your site up-to-date.