Have you been experiencing some strange results with your mobile searches lately? Does it seem as if one hour you’re witnessing Google’s new mobile-friendly update, and then the next it’s not there? Google is currently in the process of a major overhaul for their mobile user base, and we’re here to give you the inside scoop.
What is the Mobile Update?
In a major step towards mobile evolution, Google has been working on a modified search algorithm designed to assist mobile-friendly websites. These changes will begin to give priority to sites that have implemented mobile features such as bigger text, image-resizing options, and improved link spacing so users avoid the irritation of unintentionally making the wrong selection.
According to Yahoo! News, over half of all searches conducted around the world are done through smartphones. The new mobile trend might lead many to believe that Google’s update will leave nothing but a positive imprint on the market. While this may be good news for the large mobile user base, who can look forward to an increase in search results geared towards better accessibility, for online businesses it could be a nail in the coffin and a sudden plunge into the depths of search engine results.
Dubbed “Mobile-geddon,” Google’s new algorithm could cause a devastating drop in user traffic almost immediately. The threat is very real for businesses big and small, but Google isn’t leaving us in the cold. The search giant is offering tools to assist sites in crossing over to the realm of mobile.
Despite widespread fears over the negative impact the newest algorithm updates could have on certain businesses, so far we have yet to see a major change in traffic resulting from the rollout. But then again, we’re optimized for mobile. Are you?
When Can We Expect Traffic Fluctuations?
For the most part, the new update is already in the process of being implemented. Google began rolling out the new algorithm on April 21st. Some Webmasters have seen the impact of the new changes firsthand while many have not yet noticed any differences as of the 22nd. What does this mean for Google’s new search algorithm?
John Mueller, the Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google Switzerland, confirmed on April 24th that the change is now 100% underway. For some of Google’s numerous data centers, the new system is completely live. Those who recognize any differences in their mobile search results are likely seeing the new algorithm in effect, but just because the process has begun doesn’t mean it’s going to be ready across the board. Mueller explains to anxious searchers that the process could take at least a week to be fully implemented.
Search Engine Land gives us even more information from John Mueller, who explains the current state of Google’s new search priorities. According to Mueller, some data centers have completely made the changeover. He predicts the full rollout to occur anywhere from a week to a week and a half, and that differences day to day will not be as noticeable as they will from one week to another.
Mueller further explains that there have already been some bloggers who have written posts noting the differences between desktop and mobile search results. More and more data indicates a growing user base for the new search algorithm, and as such it makes sense that Google would move in this direction.
What Does This Mean For Online Businesses?
No one can say that Google isn’t trying. Webmasters whose sites have less-than-stellar mobile features have been issued a warning straight from Google to better optimize their services for mobile users. The notification is purely in the interest of the recipients as Google informs them a failure to fix the noted problems will negatively affect their mobile search ranking.
It’s important for businesses that want to keep up with the times and remain relevant to conform to change. Google is offering up plenty of tools and information to help, so take advantage of it. Each update by Google is an opportunity for your site to excel, and this new mobile algorithm offers even greater opportunity for success, as long as your content is properly optimized.
Earlier in the year we covered some of the essentials for improving your website’s optimization for mobile viewing. Some of the key points to remember include simplicity, precision, knowing your audience, testing different content forms, and focusing on headlines, lists, and bold text.
Mobile users are growing, and thus a shift in emphasis is inevitable. Rolling with the times is vital to success, and Google cannot be blamed for doing what they have to do.
If you have a website and are concerned about how it will show up when Google’s new search algorithm is in full implementation, try taking this test to see how well you are optimized for mobile viewing. The test will give you a full rundown on your site’s design for mobile usage and a link to a Google blog post outlining further details on their mobile-friendly criteria.
Additional Contributor: Sam Zell-Breier
Featured Image Credit: Panithan Fakseemuang via 123RF Stock Photo