Google is well-known among marketers for a constant tweaking of its algorithms to determine search rankings. In the name of user-friendliness, the search engine giant periodically releases updates to ensure that only the most relevant sites will actually appear on the first few pages of search results for related keywords.
Beware the Algorithm Update
Marketers fret these algorithm updates like Panda or Penguin, fearing that their sites will be punished and lose significant traffic as a result. So you can imagine the uproar that went through the digital marketing landscape when Google announced in a blog post that starting April 21 this year, it will implement a new algorithm that “will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” The new Google update was quickly dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” and speculation began.
What Will Change?
If you’re somewhat familiar with search engine optimization, the news may strike you as a bit odd. After all, it’s been known for some time that websites which were optimized for mobile devices ranked higher on both desktop and mobile devices. Google itself even offers a free tool that allows marketers to check whether their website meets Google’s mobile-friendly guidelines and requirements. So what’s actually new?
According to the blog post and several comments made by Google’s webmaster team, a few things. First, “Mobilegeddon” will mark the first time that Google has cared enough about mobile-friendliness to actually design an algorithm around determining which sites qualify to rank highly. While mobile-friendly sites (such as those with responsive design) have ranked higher in the recent past, the differences were negligible enough for marketers to potentially ignore without major damage. We won’t know yet what exact factors play into pleasing the new algorithm, but we do know that doing so will be crucial for SEO success.
Second, Google will also place a larger emphasis on ranking apps within its search results. As a result, optimizing your company app (via title and description) for related keywords is becoming even more crucial.
What You Can Do to Prepare
How can you prepare for this major update? The easy answer is to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Google still considers responsive websites as the ideal type of website because of the seamless adjustment between screen sizes, and that will likely stay the same for the update.
But even if your site is already designed responsively, some of its subpage navigation may be awkward on smaller devices. Going through each page on your site on a mobile device helps you find potential problems and fix them before the update goes into effect.
Finally, as we inch closer to April 21, it’s important to stay updated as new details emerge. We may not know all specifics and ranking factors of the algorithm before its release date, but we will learn a lot more as Google prepares marketers for its impact. In the meantime, contact us to learn more about making your site mobile friendly before “Mobilegeddon” strikes! And if you’re a client and have got a question,check out our FAQ.