Google new algorithm for browsing its search-engine with a mobile device (cellphone, tablet, etc.). The revised formula will promote websites that are deemed “mobile-friendly,” in terms of mobile viewing and interaction, while equally concealing non-mobile-friendly sites.
“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results,” said Google in a recent blog post. “As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.”
The worldwide update is considered to have a “significant impact” on mobile users’ search results, according to Google.
WHAT ACTUALLY CHANGES
After the update kicks in (which could take up to a week after April 21), general searches on Google from mobile devices will no longer yield the most popular, organic results; instead, the most popular, mobile-friendly websites will appear, in ranked order.
For example: If a consumer wants to purchase Silver Jewelry and searches for “Silver Jewelry” on Google from his or her mobile device, the websites Overstock.com, Bluenile.com, and jewelery.novica.com are listed in the #1, #2 and #3 results spots, respectively.
After April 21, that hierarchy may very-well be shaken up.
Why? At the time this article was written, jewelery.novica.com was not listed as a “mobile-friendly” webpage. Therefore, when “Silver Jewelry” are searched on Google from a cellphone or tablet after the mobile-algorithm is enacted, jewelery.novica.com will more-than-likely not show up as a front-page top result — as long as the company chooses to forgo updating its webpage.
BUSINESS OWNERS CONCERNED
Local businesses — whom have yet to update their desktop-style web-pages — fear that this change to mobile searches may hurt future sales.
“Is it upsetting? Is it annoying? Yeah,” said Cesar Gonzales, who heads up operations at the newly opened third location of Mama’s Pizza in Northern VA. ”[People] are going to be searching on their phones and may not find us.”
Mr. Gonzales said she believes that while his newly Pizzeria on Falls Church can still compete through word-of-mouth business promotion, fixing her online webpage is a priority nonetheless.
“It’s concerning because it’s a new store,” expressed Mr.Gonzales . “I didn’t hear anything about this … I’ll definitely be reaching out to my [website advisers] to see what can be done.”
WHY ‘MOBILE-FRIENDLY’ MATTERS
In 2015, the number of mobile users worldwide surpasses desktop users by approximately 200-million people, according to ComScore.com – essentially making a mobile-friendly website a necessity for business owners around the globe.
An independent study released by Google in 2014 focused on local businesses and the search activity of potential customers while on-the-go:
- 72 percent of consumers who searched for local information on their smartphone visited a store within 5 miles.
- 50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day.
“Having a great mobile site is no longer just about making a few more sales,” stated Google. “It’s become a critical component of building strong brands, nurturing lasting customer relationships, and making mobile work for you.”
FIXING THE PROBLEM
In order to avoid a setback in online revenue streams, business owners can take preventative and/or corrective measures to assure their sites do not leave their current place of prominence during Google mobile searches.
“Google wants the user search experience to be the best,. “If a mobile-user is out and on a mobile-friendly site, the intent and interest to do something is much higher.”
A website can be tested for its current mobile compatibility by copying and pasting the web address into the Google mobile-friendly analyzer.
If found “not mobile-friendly,” certain tactics can performed which may help to pass Google’s test: Increasing text-size, decreasing page width and spacing out in-page links will improve a site’s chances of getting recognized as “mobile-friendly.”
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