Mobile Friendly Search Results -Google Launches Long-Awaited Update for Mobile-Friendly Algorithm
On February 26th, 2015, Google provided hints about a drastic change in their mobile friendly search results algorithm. On, 21st April, 2015, Google introduced the Mobilegeddon – an update that changed the way the world would use a smart device. Google’s new mobile friendly algorithms are aimed at making internet searches easier, timely, relevant and more convenient when done from a mobile/smart device. This is certainly a critical update in many ways. Firstly, this is perhaps the biggest update that Google has ever come up with and secondly, the search engine announced well in advance that websites that don’t conform to the new regulations by April 21st would be severely penalized in terms of their SEO rankings.
That is ‘critical’!
In 2014, 30% of web searches were coming from mobile devices. However, within a year, this number has grown to a surprising 60%. Globally, there are a minimum of 1.5 billion users who access the internet from their mobile devices. This comes up to 80% of internet users having a smart phone. While the ownership of smart phones is increasing at every instance, this update from Google seems highly relevant and timely.
What is its significance to a website owner?
It was last November (2014) that Google introduced mobile friendly labeling to each search result. However, sites that weren’t optimized for mobile viewing weren’t penalized. Suggestions were provided to website owners to turn mobile friendly, but they could still perform well without worrying about it too much.
However, After April 21st, 2015, Google has made it a priority that only websites that have turned themselves mobile-friendly would show up in the mobile friendly search results page. Websites that haven’t been able to conform can expect to lose out completely on the mobile traffic unless they focus on mobile in their SEO strategies. With a significant number of end users relying on their smart phones for searching products and information, this could mean a huge loss in terms of both leads and revenue to the companies.
Surely we can do with a mobile friendly website and have Google on our side, right?
What does mobile friendly search results mean?
Website owners taking the Google update seriously would have already turned to mobile optimization. This would mean:
- Scaling the website layout for easy read on any type/size of screen.
- Adopting convenient touch elements like hyperlinks and buttons. Users should not find it hard clicking on ‘tabs’ on mobile devices.
- Minimized use of Flash, that isn’t quite compatible with mobile browsers.
- Automatically redirecting users between mobile and desktop version of websites depending upon the device from which it is accessed.
- Avoiding cross-linking
- Avoiding slow loading pages
- Change of browser interface / mobile-optimization of templates
How to check if you are mobile friendly
Mobile optimization takes a variety of website elements into account. It is important that website owner’s check whether their site has indeed been able to live up to the new update. Google itself provides a useful and easy web tool that checks for mobile optimization. Just enter your website URL and the results will follow. If your website hasn’t been able to conform to the new update, Google even suggests the elements that need review.
While smartphones are taking over the traditional desktops and laptops in terms of internet searches, it is very important for website owners to go mobile friendly.
Have you been affected by the April 21st update? Let us know.