Google Algorithm Change 2015: Mobile-Friendly Sites Getting a Boost

Mobilegeddon, mopocalypse – SEO experts have been pretty creative when it comes to naming the latest Google algorithm change. Mozaster, mobilendofdays – it’s easy, see how I just chipped in with my two cents? Although the update is supposed to be a major one, I say mobilet’s not panic. Read the article to get up to speed with the Google algorithm change and learn how to adjust to it.

The latest Google algorithm change is a response to the growing number of searches performed on mobile phones. Along with technology, the mobile user experience has also been evolving. The search engine giant is trying to match the trend, favoring sites that are mobile-friendly in a number of ways.

As catering to mobile users becomes an increasingly important part of Google’s business, the company is also starting to rely on data collected from indexed apps of signed-in users, to include more apps and possibly other tools in the mobile search results in the future.

Mobile-friendly sites to soar in search results

The latest Google algorithm change is an attempt to improve the mobile experience by delivering the most relevant and timely search results. As stated on the official Webmaster Central Blog:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

More has come from Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, who was quoted at SMX Munich as saying that the mobile-friendly algorithm update will affect search rankings more than either Panda or Penguin, two of the biggest Google algorithm changes to date.

As you can see, the folks at Google are quite serious about their latest algorithm update. If you feel like you’ve been slacking in terms of getting ready for the mobilegeddon, start with the checklist below. If, however, you’ve covered the basics already and are looking for fresh ideas, you can skip to the Optimizing the experience section. The new Google algorithm change will be rolled out gradually worldwide so you might not have missed the boat yet.

A checklist for Google algorithm change

Alright then, let’s start with some fundamentals. The reason why I think these points are important is because according to a test by Portent, out of the Web’s 25,000 ‘top sites’, 10,000 aren’t ready for the mopocalypse. Yikes.

In case you haven’t done much yet to prepare for the latest Google algorithm change, start with the following:

  • The most obvious thing is making sure your website is optimized for mobile. This means either having responsive design (a site whose content adjusts well to the screen it’s displayed on) or a dedicated mobile version of it (a version of your site designed for mobile purposes, with a separate URL address).
  • Check your website’s crawlability – the ability of a search engine to crawl through the entire text content of your site, easily navigate to every one of your pages, without encountering an unexpected dead-end. This means having an HTML sitemap in place, making sure all the links are working, as well as having optimized text content.
  • Look through your site page-by-page for compatibility. Optimization isn’t just about the homepage, especially considering the fact that mobile-friendliness will be determined at the page-level, and not sitewise.

Speed is always of importance online. Even more so for mobile user, who are often on the run when browsing the Web. To boost your position in the mobile search results after the latest Google algorithm change goes into effect, use the PageSpeed Insights for an analysis of both, the desktop and mobile version or your website.

Moreover, learn how to avoid common mobile SEO mistakes using the official resource from Google.

Now, remember it will take some time before Google will index all your tweaks – from 72h in case of smaller sites, up to a month for large portals. According to the company, it may take days to weeks for you to notice the change.

In any case, go grab your smartphone right now to see if your website is listed as mobile-friendly in the Google search results. If yes, you’re on the right path, if no, there’s still some work to do.

google algorithm change
google algorithm change

 

Optimizing the experience

Matt Cutts from Google has suggest the name SEO be extended to mean Search Experience Optimization as well.

If you read between the lines, what Matt actually means is that this should be the rightful name, and is the drive behind the latest Google algorithm change. With that being said, let’s see what can you do to optimize the experience of mobile searchers.

  • Make pages load in less than a second on mobile devices – this has already been an important overall ranking factor and will probably only get bigger as the mobile sector grows. I already linked to Google’s PageSpeed Insights earlier in the article, you can also try this tool from Pure Oxygen Labs.
  • If you have an Android app, add deep linking to your app – take a look at the instructions from Google on how to do it and keep in mind it’s not only websites that are listed in the results anymore.
  • Optimize for mobile assistants like Google Now – take a look at this informative SlideShare presentation.
  • Add relevant structured data for Knowledge Graph inclusion – again, if you’re not sure where to start, try this resource directly from Google.

Contrary to what some people may think, 68% of consumers’ smartphone use happens at home. This means that providing a richer, instead of simplified experience on mobile phones is the way to go.

The thing about smartphones is that they have cameras, microphones, accelerometers and GPS – all of which are either unavailable or not practical on desktop and laptop computers.

Google has been using these devices in development of their search engine to allow things in mobile search results that aren’t possible in desktop or traditional results: nearby searches using GPS rather than IP address, voice search, Google Goggles, etc.

Why not revise your content and get ahead of the competition by delivering a fuller mobile experience?

What impact will the Google algorithm change have on live chat?

As I mentioned, page load time is very important to create positive mobile user experience and will definitely play a role in the latest Google algorithm change. Personally, I couldn’t even tell you at this point how many times I have closed the tab on mobile while waiting for a page to load.

Just to give you a heads up, if you have our live chat installed on your website, we’ve tested it and can confirm it doesn’t cause any conflict with Google. Chatwee works just fine on mobile as it does on desktop, not causing any delays in page load time, which often is the case with many widgets and third-party apps.

Final word

The latest Google algorithm change intended to promote mobile-friendliness in mobile search results is a big update that will have significant impact.

Google’s goal always is to deliver to its users the best experience possible. Previous updates like Panda, which favored sites with high-quality content, and Penguin, which weeded out sites using spammy offsite practices, have addressed some of the most crucial aspects of online experience.

Since the world is going mobile, it was only natural for the search engine giant to try and revamp the way it displays mobile results.

Websites with no mobile optimization will most likely drop drastically. Use this article to catch up with the latest Google algorithm change and make your site mobile user-friendly to stay at the top of the game.