What your business needs to know about the latest Google Algorithm update.

What your business needs to know about the latest Google Algorithm update.

Stef F author

Author: Stephanie Fiteni
Co-Founder / Online Marketing Specialist & Coach at Defined Branding.

On April 21st 2015 Google started rolling out the so-called mobile-friendly update. It has been omenously nicknamed mobilegeddon but that’s a very misleading dramatic approach to the updates. When you scratch the surface it is not such a scary change after all. Minor changes in the way Google lists websites on mobile have been going in this direction for at least the last year and a half. Any marketeer that monitors a number of sites would have seen this coming early on.

The most important aspect of this algorithm release is that mobile sites will rank better on mobile searches. I’m sure there is general consensus this is the only way Google can go if it wants to stay the top search engine.

This means that if your site has a mobile (responsive) version which allows users to navigate better, read less copy in larger text and load fast, then it will have a better chance of being favourably listed in Google. The official Google Web Master information describes it like this

“where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”
Source – Google Webmaster Pages

Google officially stated that this will not lower your site rank, but it will effect how pages are indexed. The difference is a very fine one which perhaps only Google insiders can understand in detail. The most important information given by the official release article from Google is however that websites that do not rate very well on the technical side of responsive, can still rank highly in Google search results because the most important factor for results is how closely the content matches the search.

So Google keeps reinforcing the fact that content is key. It is only natural because in order to match results accurately Google needs to match search query with overall topic and content. The technical aspect is secondary.

However a little cautionary note is required here. Make sure you check your website statistics because if most of your traffic comes from mobile (note this does not include tablets and other devices) then you need to update your technology with some urgency.

“94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. Interestingly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.”

– Source – Google Developers
(US Statistics)


According to Google Webmasters FAQs even if your audience is mostly desktop you should watch out because current statistics show that more people are going “mobile only” because fewer people are buying desktops and/or keeping them updated with the latest software. 

Additionally, a non-mobile-friendly site may not see many mobile visitors precisely for that reason.

Source – Google Webmaster Pages

Mobile remains a very important part of your business’ website and will grow in importance as time goes by – whether you’re a Business to Business company or a retailer selling directly through an eCommerce site  you’ll need to make sure visitors can have a good browsing experience on your site when visiting through a mobile device. Focusing on your cross channel browsing will increase your return visitors and reduce your bounce rate.

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