The Mountain View, California, search giant announced back in February 2015, that they were looking at making the mobile user and their experience a priority. Here, we’ve answered a few common questions about the update, and given you some tips on how to best prepare your website for it.
What is the Google Mobile Algorithm Update?
As the age of digital marketing advances, it’s no big secret that we are rapidly shifting from a primarily desktop computing society to more mobile smartphone-based. Particularly over the last year, most of LaneTerralever’s clients have experienced a shift from mostly desktop engagement with their web properties, to primarily smartphone and tablet users.
Similarly, Google has seen a sharp increase in mobile usage and has played with updates that “reward” mobile-friendly sites, like placing mobile-friendly notations next to search listings. Their goal with updates like these are to help users find easy-to-navigate websites while using mobile devices.
This update will make it highly advantageous for webmasters and businesses to create web experiences that are mobile-friendly. Much like the Google Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird updates, this update will dramatically impact what is served in search results, and rewards websites that are built with the end-users’ best intentions at heart.
Additionally, brands that create apps will benefit by having indexed application content also served to users who are logged-in and conduct a relevant search.
What Does a “Mobile-Friendly” Site Look Like?
Simply put, a mobile-friendly website will present itself well on a smaller, cascade-style screen, instead of (or as well as) a larger, landscape desktop screen. And luckily, here are many ways to design a website to be mobile-friendly. Probably the highest-recommended method by most industry experts (and Google), is responsive web design.
Aside from the design and experience of the website, Google recommends that webmasters watch for other common mobile-friendly pitfalls, which can include the following:
- Slow page load speed (test for that here)
- Faulty redirects
- Unplayable content, etc.
How Do I Check My Site for the Mobile Algorithm Update?
You might be thinking to yourself, “I recently redid my website. Is it mobile-friendly?” There’s actually a simple test for that. By running Google’s Mobile Friendliness Test, you can get quick insights into whether your website is in good shape for the upcoming algorithm update, or if you have some work to do. Regardless of the outcome, you will be provided with a list of any issues your site does have, regardless of whether it passed the test or not. For additional information, Google offers detailed insights in the Mobile Usage section of Webmaster Tools.
How Do I Create a Mobile-First Website?
Since you know that a large portion of your audience is now searching and coming to your website from a mobile device, it’s important to convey the information they seek in an easy-to-access format, and utilize the functionality of their smartphone. For example, many mobile web users want access to their relevant information in an actionable way. Physical addresses should open in a map/direction application and phone numbers listed in web content should enable a click-to-call option.When considering the recent updates to the Google search algorithm, All of the recent updates to the Google Search Algorithm have been seen as a good thing by businesses who are focused on creating a meaningful experience for their users and delivering relevant content. While some fearful analysts and sensationalists have dubbed this update “Mobilegeddon,” it’s clear to see that the world we live in now is multi-device and multi-platform; the upcoming algorithm changes will only reward web content creators that embrace this reality.