The latest update from Google places a greater emphasis on ensuring that people who make searches using mobile devices receive results showing mobile-friendly web pages. If you are reading this post before April 21st, 2015, that is the date that Google’s changes go live (or when they went live if you are reading this later).
Google have forewarned that mobile-friendliness is to be an important ranking signal. With a very high percentage of internet users using mobile devices now, Google has felt the need to accept and recognise this.
Old-fashioned websites that simply cater to computer users with large monitors are unusable for many internet users. Google believes that they are doing their mobile users a disservice raising these sites high in the search results. They are now actively ensuring that mobile users do not see the sites that are unfriendly to them.
Allied with this, Google has recognised that mobile users spend a high percentage of their time using apps (in many cases instead of using a browser). Despite some attempt by Microsoft to market apps within Windows 8, they have never taken off on the desktop. The reality is that mobile browsers and desktop browsers are looking for different things. The new mobile-friendly version of Google’s search engine will place a greater emphasis on finding apps that match search terms while the desktop searches will continue to ignore apps generally. Although there is currently no clear evidence for this, there is a firm belief online that Google has now built a crawler that can search through and index Android apps.
It is important to realise that Google has aimed these changes purely at people who search using mobile devices. If you still operate a non-mobile friendly website, the changes will not affect your search engine ranking for desktop searchers. Desktop searchers will continue to use the existing Google algorithm. The changes relate to mobile users because Google is bringing in a new search engine for the mobile world. Of course with approximately 50% of all searching happening on mobile devices, you do need to get a mobile-friendly version of your site created. Until then you are certainly limiting your potential traffic!
There is another possible effect for users of iPads and other devices. Currently, Google have considered tablets to be desktop tools, for search purposes. The rumours online suggest that they are about to reclassify tablets as being mobile devices, and thus they will be fed by the new search engine.
Do you have a mobile-friendly website? Google does have a site where you can test it out. At Infinity Web Development we have been creating mobile friendly websites by default for years, so you can rest assured that both the desktop and the new mobile Google search algorithms will favour your site.
If your site was created by someone else, and you find that Google’s test results for your site suggest that it is not mobile-friendly, contact us to bring it up to speed. It will meet all modern standards and be suitable for all possible users, no matter what device they are using.