Google's New Mobile-Friendly Algorithm: What to Know & Do
60% of all online traffic comes from mobile devices, according to a comScore report released last summer (2014). That's a 10% increase from the previous year (2013). Accordingly, Google is moving to a more mobile-friendly algorithm.
Google calls the shots in the search engine optimization (SEO) world. And it makes perfect sense that they would lead the charge in tailoring search results to mobile viewers. Of course they'd create a mobile-friendly algorithm to create a better experience for the bulk of their consumer base!
The problem is that most people don't understand SEO, or what any of this means (which is reasonable). Sadly, though, people tend not to value what they don't understand.
What you need to understand is that this is very important. This change is going to be big, and it's going to affect everyone.
What You Need to Know
Google's mobile-friendly algorithm update, which takes effect today, April 21st, 2015, will have a significant impact on all websites.
Google is always trying to create a better experience for its users. And since they hold majority share of the search market (about 66%), businesses have to fit into Google's guidelines.
This means that companies, particularly small businesses who might not otherwise pay heavy attention to their online presence, need to place "mobile-optimized website" at the top of their to-do list.
We can all learn a lesson from eBay, who neglected to comply with Google's last update, Panda 4.0, and found that 80% of their "prime search result listings had been banished from the first Google results page."
Can you image if 80% of your viewership vanished over night? That would destroy most businesses!
In total they lost 33% of their online visibility. They weren't even the worst story! Other companies, such as Ask.com, lost 50% or more of their online visibility.
Moral of the story: listen to Google.
What the Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Changes
Mobile devices account for the majority of online traffic. Accordingly, only searches from smart phones will be affected by the algorithm update (though that's likely to change in future updates).
This is all for the consumer. If a person is searching on their smart phone, it makes sense that the references and websites presented to them should function smoothly on that particular device.
For mobile traffic, emphasis is placed on functionality.
A website's mobile-friendly status will not affect its search results on desktops, laptops, or tablets (for now). There the focus will remain on relevance.
This change is important for the obvious reason of online traffic and its impact on businesses. This is also important because of its prediction (or rather, solidification) of mobile's place in consumerism.
The use of mobile technology has been on the rise for years. Google's widespread move to emphasize mobile-friendly websites is logical, and it's a powerful statement that smart phone usage will play an increasingly important role in the enterprise.
This means all businesses need to be taking action.
What You Need to Do
Simply put, you need to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
The easiest way to check this is to pull out your smart phone and do a Google search for your company. If you see "Mobile-friendly" under the url, such as in the screenshot below, you are safe.
If you do not see the "Mobile-friendly" label, it will be beneficial for you to contact your webmaster and update your website ASAP.
Whether you are your site's webmaster or not, this brief article directly from Google will be your best reference to improving your website's functionality.
Across the board, businesses need to better engage consumers through mobile platforms. Google's mobile-friendly algorithm update proves the need to do so.
Mobile devices account for 60% of total online traffic. Smart phones in particular account for 50% of that. And 70% of all social networking is done through mobile devices.
To engage your audience, meet them where they are, and make it easier for them to interact with you.
Bringing It All Together
Google's mobile-friendly algorithm update will cause a large shift in companies' search results, and therefore have a huge impact on businesses themselves.
This update signifies the vastly growing mobile trend in technology, business, and customer engagement.
Businesses need to reach their customers where they are, and learn to efficiently engage with them. Those who do this well will succeed. Those who do not will fail.