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  • 14 April 2015

    The Google Update: Mobilegeddon?

    Many of you will have heard that Google is soon introducing a new update to their search algorithm, and apparently it will spell the end for all things non-mobile. A positive “mobilegeddon” if you will. But is it really the web-apocalypse?

    What is happening and why does it matter?

    Well, Google will introduce two significant changes to its search algorithm; the first means it will be using mobile-friendly factors in its mobile search results, and it will rank mobile apps participating in App Indexing.

    The first bit also includes mobile labelling, so that Google will indicate whether your site is mobile-friendly or not, and any sites that are will be ranked higher in the search results.

    The second bit means that any apps that are indexed by Google will also rank better in the search engine. This will only be the case for signed-in users who have the app installed on their mobiles (which, for the moment, means Android apps only).

    These changes are quite significant, as Google are the biggest players in search engine land (their engine drives a great many other search sites as well), and essentially what they say goes. This is also why everybody got their panties in a twist over their “Panda” and “Penguin” updates. The long and short of it is that Google’s reach is so widespread that your website will inevitably be affected.

    So What?

    As we mentioned not long ago in our article To Be (responsive) or Not To Be (responsive), That Is the Question there is no question that mobile searches on the net are on the rise, and in fact, industry experts predict that mobile searches may well overtake PC/desktop searches this year, so the momentum is swinging towards mobile searches and Google’s move here confirms it.

    It remains important to remember however, that these changes will affect searches on mobile devices, not searches via desktop necessarily. But the impact on how your website ranks in mobile searches will be affected, and rather significantly at that. With this update, it is more important than ever to identify where your audience is coming from (use Google analytics for this), and if a large proportion of your website audience visit (and therefore search for) your site on a mobile device, you should take action.

    What Can We Do?

    Once you know that enough of your audience accesses your site through mobile devices and it will be worthwhile changing, you can check if your website is deemed mobile friendly by Google, by running it through their Mobile Friendly Test.

    Although not a flawless test, it does give you a clear overview on whether your site is mobile friendly or not, and what is wrong with it if not. You’ll get a screenshot of how the Googlebot sees the site, and you’ll also get a list of things where Google want to sell you stuff, obviously. If it is found to be mobile friendly, happy days, you don’t have to worry about mobilegeddon. If it is not deemed to be mobile friendly, you have three options:

    A) Re-create your website as a responsive design, where the content is adapted to render perfectly on a mobile device.

    B) Re-create your site to “Dynamic Serve”. This is most easily explained as your website having two versions sitting on the same URL, where it serves the content that is best suited for your device and “hides” the other. So on your mobile it hides the desktop formatting and on your desktop it won’t show the mobile formatting.

    C) Create a separate mobile site, where visitors on smartphones or tablets are directed to a separate mobile URL where they can browse a site that is optimised for their device.

    If your current website provider can’t help then do get in touch, and of course do let us know if you have any questions.