Google is well known to change it's algorithms to provide the best possible search results to it's users. Over the years, Google has created new algorithms such as Panda, to stop content farms who put out poor quality content. In 2012, Google released it's next algorithm named Penguin. This new algorithm took into account sites linking to poor quality content. So if your site was spreading irrelevant or incorrect information by linking to sites, you were penalized.
So what benefit does Google get from constantly updating it's algorithms? Customer trust! It's easy to forget that there are other search engines out there, so Google is always competing for their user base. Google is beating their competition by staying customer-focused, identifying what a reader is mostly likely looking for when they search and rewarding companies who are trying to supply the best information, rather than try and trick the system.
Google has announced another algorithm change that favors the consumer and rewards the companies who already have mobile-friendly websites. Starting April 21, they will be expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Unfortunately, while previous algorithm updates have most heavily affected large companies, this new change will seriously affect smaller online publications and retailers who have yet to make mobile a priority.
This change will effect mobile searches and will impact your search results. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it will suffer visibility on mobile searches. This will allow consumers to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
According to Google, this change is indeed in the consumers’ favor. “Users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices,” Google writes on its official Webmaster blog.
Googlebots will use these factors to determine a site’s mobile friendliness:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash.
- Uses text that is readable without zooming.
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.
- Sizes content to the screen so consumers do not have to scroll horizontally or zoom.
The change in this new algorithm makes the need for a responsive website design absolutely necessary, rather than a nice-to-have feature. Responsive web design simply means that the website has been designed to change its display based on the type of device that is accessing it. Visitors coming from a traditional desktop or laptop computer will see the regular site, while visitors coming from tablets, smartphones and other handheld devices will see a smaller and cleaner, but still fully functional, version.
To see if your website passes the mobile-friendly test, click here.
Don’t like your results? Contact us today and we will get you setup with a mobile-friendly website that will further assist in your search engine rankings!