Google have announced upcoming changes to their search algorithm designed to significantly benefit mobile-friendly websites. The changes are due to come into effect on 21 April 2015, making it even more important than ever to ensure your website is mobile friendly and accessible. Additionally, Google have implemented methods to intuitively rank mobile apps participating in app indexing for signed-in users in mobile search.
The search engine revealed that the new mobile-ranking algorithm will label relevant websites as ‘mobile-friendly’ and adjust rankings accordingly. Google have suggested the algorithmic change could have ‘significant impact’ upon mobile rankings in all languages worldwide.
Google have justified the move by promising the changes will ensure “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimised for their devices.”
The announcement gives site-owners seven weeks to ensure their websites are mobile-friendly, to protect themselves against affected rankings and a potential decline in traffic. Websites won’t be able to rely upon high rankings in desktop searches to salvage their mobile reputation, with the two facets becoming largely separate.
Is My Website Mobile Friendly?
Google currently visibly labels websites as ‘Mobile Friendly’ in mobile searches, helping searchers anticipate the more beneficial and user-friendly sites. If your website has not earned this recognition, Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test tool can help you determine the aspects of the website which are rendered unfriendly towards mobile users.
Along with the Google Mobile-Friendly Guidelines, the information can help you identify and address the issues which are preventing your website from providing a more mobile-friendly experience.
Google has purposefully announced the new mobile search algorithm before putting it into action, giving users the opportunity to address small changes which are required to produce a mobile-friendly website. The seven week warning however may not be sufficient for websites which require a large volume of changes or a complete overhaul.
This is not Google’s first foray into penalising sites with unfriendly features for mobile users, in 2013 the search engine introduced the mobile ranking demotion algorithm which (unsurprisingly) demoted websites which provided a poor user experience on mobile.
It is anticipated that 2015 will be the year when mobile searches overtake desktop searches in volume, making it more important than ever to ensure your website is mobile-friendly and beneficial for visitors.
Indexed Mobile Apps
The additional move to index apps will help signed-in users find additional material and resources for apps they have downloaded onto their device. Creating a more intuitive search experience, Google are affording additional prominence for apps already installed on Android devices. Google Developers have provided a guide to help you get your app indexed.
The Banc Media team can help you further address any on-site and off-site factors which may be negatively impacting your mobile visibility. To discover how we could help, visit our homepage or call us now on 0845 459 0558.