On the 21st of April, Google is rolling out a revolutionary new algorithm for mobile searches that will assign your site’s ranking based on whether or not it is optimised for mobile use. If not, then your site will lose a considerable amount of mobile traffic, which can cause problems for your business in the long run.
This new algorithm only affects mobile searches, so you could be forgiven for thinking it won’t make a significant difference to most web traffic. However, according to Google’s Webmaster Trends team member Zineb Ait Bahajji, the impact will be even bigger than that of the Penguin and Panda updates. Considering that Panda had an effect on 12% of all Google queries made in English, that statement carries some weight. Even more interestingly, this algorithm will run in real time, allowing continual indexing and re-evaluation of rankings.
Is mobile search really that important? Yes, and it has been for some time now. Mobile now accounts for 50% of all Google searches, and 94% of the people conducting these searches are looking for local information. What’s more, 61% of users only look at the first page of the results on a mobile search, so low rankings mean far fewer visitors.
Google already has a “mobile-friendly” label in place that allows users to see if a site is optimised for mobile use or not. To be deemed mobile-friendly, a site needs to avoid software that doesn’t work with mobile devices, eradicate the need for zooming to view content or text, and make it easy to tap the right link. Formatting for mobile is not enough; users need full functionality. It makes sense that Google will apply similar criteria when it comes to the new algorithm.
With 57% of users searching on their phones on a daily basis, your site could benefit hugely from mobile optimisation. Even if the vast majority of your site traffic comes from desktop use, there is a high chance that will change as smartphones grow more indispensible.
If you are worried that this algorithm will affect your traffic, there are a few steps you can take. First, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out if your site is mobile-friendly or if it can offer a better user experience on mobile. Then, contact us and get started on the optimisation process. With the algorithm rolling out in just a few weeks, there is no time to lose.