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Google to Implement Mobile Friendly Search Update
by Startacus Admin
It’s been the worst kept secret in tech land for a very long time, but just last week Google finally announced the news that it is to incorporate ‘mobile optimisation’ as a ranking signal, into its search algorithm.
Many will have been caught off guard by the rather sudden announcement, but no one can deny, it’s well overdue. When you consider the exponential increase in the level of online browsing that has taken place over the past few years, many are wondering why it has taken so long.
There have been many surveys and reports into the changing habits of internet users, and whilst results do vary, they all agree that mobile browsing is fast becoming the vehicle of choice for the modern tech savvy user. The general consensus is that around 50% of all internet usage now takes place on mobile devices such as tablets or smart phones.
What will Google be doing?
Basically, this means that once it has implemented its algorithm update, website pages which are well optimized for viewing on a mobile device will be given a higher level of precedence over those which are not, when people search through Google on mobile devices. Google itself claims that this will have ‘a significant impact in our search results’
The change doesn’t come into immediate effect, so you will have until the 21st April to get things in order. Not a huge amount of time, but if you get your head down now and make any changes that need to be made you won't find yourself pushed at the last minute.
Why is Google doing this?
Despite what many people might think, it’s not to be cruel.
“To organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful’
Taking this into account, it’s abundantly clear why they have chosen to implement this change; it’s all about the user experience. A site which is well optimized for mobile browsing offers an aesthetically superior experience for people viewing it and is more useful as a result.
With the advent of mobile devices, the novelty of the technology meant that people were willing to accept a certain level of ‘ropiness’ when it came to the way websites appeared online. But as this mode of browsing has grown in popularity and device capabilities have increased, the lack of mobile optimization on many sites has become much less tolerable. It can be the difference between a beautiful and enjoyable experience, and a frustrating nightmare.
Google knows this, and is trying to make sure its users have access to the best experience possible.
What does this mean for your website?
It would be irresponsible to make apocalyptic predictions about the effect this update could have on the average small business website; but suffice to say, if a proportion of your traffic comes from Google and is on mobile devices, then there will be an impact. Whether this is a negative or positive impact depends entirely on how well optimized your site is for mobile browsing.
It’s important to make the distinction, that these changes only apply to searches that take place on mobile devices, Google's algorithms for desktop searches change regularly, but in respect to mobile optimization.
What can you do?
If you don't already know, there is a really easy way to assess your website's mobile optimization. Log on to Google’s Webmaster Tools, and select the option ‘Mobile Usability’, this will allow you to run a report showing how user-friendly your site / individual pages currently are.
Don’t panic if you discover that your site isn’t optimized at all, because Google have a really useful Mobile Guide that will talk you through some of the things you can do to improve the situation, and teach you ways to ensure that you are implementing practices which will constantly improve your mobile SEO.
We will be bringing you some more info on positive ways you can impact your mobile SEO in the coming weeks.
As luck would have it, if you are reading this before the 9th March 2015, we are giving away a free business Local SEO package worth £999! Here's the datails of how to enter.