Google’s new “Mobile-Friendly” search algorithm will start rolling out April 21st
In its brief history, the Web has constantly evolved. Today, the evolution to mobile Web adoption is increasing at light speed as fully half of today’s Internet connections are made using mobile devices. Even if you believe most people who visit your website are doing so from an office desk or at home, consider this: 77 per cent of ‘mobile’ searches are done at home or at work!
The standard perceptions of where we use desktops and where we use mobiles are no longer valid. But while we’re searching the Web using varying devices, our preferred method of search has not changed — we’re mostly Googling.
So it comes as no surprise that many Webmasters hold their breath every time Google announces changes to its search algorithm (the code that governs how the search giant categorizes and prioritizes one website over another). Even today, the algorithm remains something of a mystery, but Google helps us out by regularly making sure we know what factors impact a site’s search ranking.
The next evolution of the Google search algorithm, launching on April 21, recognizes the growth of mobile by giving priority to sites with a mobile-friendly ranking. So if your website doesn’t display well on mobile devices, you’ve got some work to do.
Get busy getting mobile
Regrettably, too many websites still lack basic mobile functionality like collapsing columns and menu systems. So what if your website is not yet built to be responsive, adaptive or otherwise mobile-friendly? You might be wondering what changes you need to maintain your Google ranking.
Start by subjecting your website to Google’s easy-to-use Mobile-Friendly Test. If your site fails to meet Google’s mobile standard, Google will help you with a list of issues the test has uncovered. At least this gives you a starting point.
If your website needs a mobile makeover, start by taking a close look at your content. Which content can reasonably make the transition to mobile? Then, make sure your web pages and content follow a few very basic rules:
- Avoid using software that isn’t common on mobile devices (like Flash)
- Use fonts large enough to read without zooming, and avoid images that can’t fit on a mobile screen
- Place links far enough apart so users can tap the correct ones easily
There’s still time
Although the new algorithm will be rolled out on April 21st, Google has explained that it could take up to a week for the changes to take effect. Plus, the new system will run in real-time, so a site won’t be subject to the new algorithm until the next time Google crawls and indexes it. This works two ways – if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ve got some time to fix it; but if your site stands to benefit from the opportunity to boost page rankings, you’ll want to get your site crawled by Google without delay.
At StrategicAmpersand, part of being a trusted partner means we ensure websites are compliant with industry standards so they’re always ready for the next evolution. If you have questions about mobile-friendly design or want to stand out from your peers, contact us. We help businesses reach their target audiences – and their potential – no matter what platform they’re on.