Google’s Latest Algorithm Changes Scheduled April 21st
You’ve heard it time and time again, optimize your website for mobile to increase traffic and improve customer experience, but have you done so yet? If your site is not yet mobile-friendly you will want to get going on it as quickly as possible.
The clock is ticking faster than ever. At the end of February, Google announced its plans to add a new algorithm targeted at filtering out mobile search results that are not optimized for mobile. These changes are scheduled to start on April 21, 2015—is your website ready?
The Latest Algorithm Is All About Improving User Experience
You might be wondering–why must Google make your life difficult with more changes? Simply put: Google wants people to easily access the information they are looking for, when they are looking for it. If people use Google search engine and end up on websites that are not optimized for mobile, they are not going to be happy with the provided results. This is why Google is now actively getting rid of mobile search results that are not designed for access via mobile platforms.
Mobile user experience is incredibly important considering the rising percentage of people accessing the Internet on their phone and tablet. Desktop computers and laptops are far less popular these days since the average consumer often finds it more convenient to simply type a search query on their mobile device.
The latest pending algorithm ensures a website that is optimized to perform on mobile devices is always going to rank higher than a website with no mobile optimization. Your site can be loaded with great content, graphics and information, but if it doesn’t perform properly on mobile platforms it is no longer going to rank. Your rank on desktop searches will not be impacted by these changes. Still, desktop searchers are on the decline and mobile optimization is adamant to remain relevant.
Google Algorithm Changes
Google has consistently made changes to help weed out the sites that are not mobile-friendly, but there are still a number of sites that are not mobilized and experience a good deal of traffic from mobile users. According to Google, as of April 21st, this good luck is expected to end.
The changes are expected to slowly take effect, as opposed to happening all at once. As a result of this news, a number of businesses are not taking the changes announced by Google too seriously. It’s easy to assume that it’s just another algorithm change in the long list of never ending algorithms created by Google.
According to Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends Team, the changes offered by Google’s latest algorithm will be greater than what was experienced after the release of Panda and Penguin. This means the latest change could completely alter the way search engines operate.
Previous algorithm changes have impacted a handful of websites, but there are always those that escape the impact. The latest change is specifically targeted at non-optimized websites, meaning if your site is not mobile you will be impacted. Of course, there is guaranteed to be a glitch or two, but that’s why changes are expected to roll out slowly. It might take some time but Google’s ultimate goal is to create a search platform that only produces mobile optimized sites on mobile search engines. These changes are permanent and demand the undisputable need to create responsive websites that perform on both mobile and desktop platforms.
Google hires the best of the best web developers to create highly advanced algorithms, hence why the search engine almost always knows what you are looking for. Google remains in the pursuit of perfection. The latest algorithm changes are expected to help in this pursuit by adding an additional factor to Google’s ranking process. The latest algorithm grants Google crawlers the ability to tell if your website is optimized for mobile or not.
How To Keep Your Site Ranking On Mobile Searches
Google’s latest algorithm news has left many scrambling to uncover just how they can best optimize their site and maintain or improve mobile ranking. In predictable fashion, Google has not given away any specifics about how it plans to actually implement these changes. It is assumed that the more mobile friendly aspects your site has, the higher it will rank.
Since the changes are expected to occur slowly, the actual date April 21st might not offer any noticeable changes. The point is that the changes will eventually exclude all non-mobile friendly sites from mobile search engines, and that’s a big deal.
Google’s goal is not to make your life more miserable with their never-ending algorithm changes. Instead as the number one ranked site nationally and internationally, Google simply wants to remain at the top of its game by providing users with the best experience (and search results) possible.
If your website offers visitors what they are looking for in a clear, easy to access and mobile-friendly manner, Google is going to reward you for this. On the other hand, if your website is a mess of information that is difficult to locate and not mobile-friendly, you are in for some trouble. AKA your site might disappear from mobile search engines all together. (Read more here from Forbes)
Use these 4 tips to make sure Google’s latest algorithm change does not negatively impact your site:
1. Optimize Your Site For Mobile. It seems like a no brainer, but this is the most important thing you can do to remain ranked on mobile. You have some options, you can either host a mobile-friendly version of your site, or you can change your site to a responsive design that is compatible with both desktop and mobile devices. An experienced web developer or marketing company will offer a world of beneficial advice when it comes to deciding which is the best option for you.
2. Know That It’s Not Just Mobile Vs. Desktop. Functionality and appearance can all change depending on the actual device used to access your site, be it mobile-friendly or not. Make sure your site operates just as smoothly from all devices, including different sized tablets, android phones, apple phones, etc.
3. Make Sure Google Crawlers See Your Site. You want to be sure that Google’s crawlers can access your site; otherwise your site might not show up as mobile-friendly, even if it is.
4. Check More Than Just Your Homepage. A common mistake is to assume your site is mobile-friendly simply because the front page looks good. You want to click every last link and check every single page in order to ensure your site is truly mobilized. If changing your pages to mobile is a complex process it’s best to start with the most popular pages and work from there. Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed that the initial algorithm will judge sites on a page-by-page basis, meaning the pages that are not mobilized will not rank, and the pages that are mobilized will rank.
It’s not too late to mobilize your site. You still have a couple weeks to get a mobile addition of your website published before the negative effects start. If your site is mobilized before the changes start to roll out you shouldn’t see any negative impacts from the latest algorithm. Instead, you may see an increase in traffic as your non-mobile competitors fall in ranking.
Google has many more changes up its sleeve, but you can always remain on top of search engines by providing what Google is trying to provide, a great site that addresses exactly what your target audience is looking for. You are guaranteed to stay on Google’s good side by keeping your goals focused on user experience.
Even if your entire site is not mobilized by April 21st there is no need to panic. The important thing is that you actively take the appropriate steps to mobilize your site as soon as possible.