Google Overhauls Mobile Search Rankings
We have come to a time when more people are using the internet on their mobile devices than on a computer. So wouldn’t it make more send to make mobile-friendly websites more prominent in search results?
That was Google’s thinking, which they put into practice from 21 April. Some people are excited, some are calling it Mobilegeddon. While it might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, changing the search rankings is certainly a huge upheaval, but could make life a lot easier for people using smartphones.
For a while now, Google has been advocation mobile-friendly websites, and their new search algorithm is just the next step in that. And it isn’t as if this change has been suddenly sprung on everyone – Google originally announced their intentions back in February. This advanced notice was to make sure companies had enough warning to update their websites in time for the shift.
“We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” Google said in a blog post. The change will also affect searches in all languages and will have a significant impact on search results, they said.
But what exactly is “mobile-friendliness”? Well, first off, websites should be designed so that they load quickly on a phone. If you’ve ever visited a site that seems to have a lot on it, that takes a long time to load, the likelihood is that it has been designed with PC users in mind. More complex graphics can take longer to load on mobile devices, and the content doesn’t fit well on smaller screens.
So, content must be easily accessible by scrolling up and down, without having to swipe left or right to read it all. Any buttons on the page should be prominent and easy to click, links should be well spaced, and text should be large enough to read easily.
Although the new algorithm won’t be affecting PCs, laptops, or larger handheld devices like tablet, it’s likely to have a huge impact on how and where people spend their money.
If you take into consideration that more and more people are using their smartphones to compare products in a store, or to find the perfect restaurant to spend their evening. If the websites for these places aren’t mobile-friendly, they will appear lower in the search rankings. Lower search rankings mean that users will be less likely to visit the websites, and, in turn, the store or restaurant in reality.
In a statement, Google explained that there are actually many factors used by the search engine giant to rank results. Mobile-friendliness is just one of these factors, but could have the largest impact. “Users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results,” the statement said, “that are optimised for their devices.”
If you’d like to check if your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s tool for doing so, here. And if your website isn’t quite up to scratch, or you’re just not sure, Google is also offering developer tools to help make websites more mobile-friendy – you can check that out here.