April 3, 2015

Mobilegeddon: Bracing For the Next Big Google Algorithm

By Lauren C.

The fact that our lives can be planned and executed through a simple hand-held device can seem unreal to even the most savvy tech nerds. Most businesses have realized that mobile search is an increasingly global phenomenon, especially in terms of conversions and sales. However, certain businesses have been unable to keep up with the rise in mobile Internet usage, and consequently have not properly tailored their websites to a more mobile-inclined crowd.

Google plans to roll out an algorithm change this month that takes into consideration how mobile-friendly and app-friendly a website is. This means that if you have a mobile-friendly website or are an online mobile app, a higher ranking just became more likely for your business.

Unfortunately, the exact details of this so called “Mobilegeddon” have not fully been released. If your business has a responsive web design that creates a better user viewing experience, don’t sit back and relax quite yet. According to Webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes, we know that responsive design won’t have a ranking benefit, and tablets will not be affected at all by the update.

However, there are a few suggestions that Search Engine Watch proposes for websites to prepare for the algorithm change. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you are mobile-prepared.

1. Is your font easy to see on smaller screens?

2. Are touch elements easy to use, with enough space in between them?

3. Do you use Flash (not good), or rely on CSS & JavaScript (good)?

4. Does your desktop URL transfer to a mobile one if you have both a mobile and a desktop URL for your website? In other words, if you have a mobile site URL that is different than your regular desktop site URL, desktop ones must be redirected appropriately to the correct mobile URL when using a mobile device. This provides a seamless user experience while jumping from desktop to mobile versions of your site, and vice versa.

5. Do you have fast mobile page navigation and load times, or are they slow and difficult to use?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you can analyze whether or not your business is mobile friendly. Also, as an important side note, Google is checking for page-level mobile-friendliness. This means that the entire website needs to be mobile-friendly, not just a couple pages of the website. No tricking Google allowed!

Finally, and most importantly in regards to this update, Google is working on creating their own mobile index. This means that very soon, Google will read the mobile web apart from the regular web. In other words, if you don’t have a mobile site, it probably won’t be found or ranked. In order to see right away whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, check out their Mobile-FriendlyTest today.

What This Means for Google Maps and Local Search

If your website is already mobile friendly according to the Mobile Friendly Test, rankings should not be affected, and may get a boost. Continue to make tweaks here and there by staying up to date with what is considered acceptable by Google’s ever changing algorithms. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, start building one!

Are you prepared for the Mobilegeddon? Would you like the Tek Team to elaborate on any of these mobile optimization plans? Let us know in the comments!

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