Every day, Google tinkers with their search engine algorithm. They play around with spam keywords and strategies, they run queries to determine search engine rank, etc. Most of these changes occur completely behind the scenes, and while in some cases you can see your website move a few spaces here and there, most websites go largely unaffected and Google doesn’t bother notifying website owners.

So when Google announces a change to its algorithm, you can bet it is a big deal, and in this case it is one of the first changes in years that may require a complete or partial website upgrade.

The Effects of Mobile Search on Website Relevance

More people perform searches on their mobile phone than a PC or laptop. Google’s dominance in the search engine world is based on their ability to provide relevant results with those types of searches. In general, those results are going to be based on the content on the search. But in some cases, like in the case of mobile, a website’s usability matters as well.

If you visit a site on a smartphone, and the phone doesn’t adjust to account for the mobile device, the user experience suffers. Even though the content is still the same as it was before, the poor user experience means that the site isn’t the result that a searcher is looking for.

The Change in Google’s Search Engine Algorithm

On April 21st, Google decided to make a fairly massive rankings update that affects nearly every mobile search rank. Dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” websites that are not “mobile ready” are going to drop in search engines compared to websites that are able to respond to the mobile experience, which include factors like:

  • Larger Text on Mobile
  • Easy to Click Links
  • Photo or Image Resizing and More

For many small businesses that haven’t updated their website in many years – especially those that attract a lot of mobile searches, like service companies – are going to experience a massive ratings drop if they do not get their website up to code. Over the past several years, it has been possible to get away with keeping the same website and still showing up high in search engines. This is one of the first changes Google has made that may require you to perform at least some type of small website upgrade.

From Challenges Come Opportunity

Still, while many people are looking at this change with dread, the truth is that the change in search engine rankings for mobile search can also be seen as an opportunity. If you update your website to be more “mobile ready,” you can improve your mobile Google search rank ahead of your competitors. The sooner you make your website mobile friendly, the sooner you can start moving up in ranks ahead of some of your slower competitors.

If you want to find out whether or not your website is mobile friendly, you can test it via Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test” by clicking here. You may also run a search for your website on a mobile phone and see if the “mobile friendly” designation appears next to it. In some cases, websites may fail elements of the mobile friendly test yet still receive the “all clear” from Google by way of the notice in the search results.

If you don’t have a mobile ready site and want to start making changes to help boost your mobile search rank, contact Holony Media today for a free analysis.

Photo courtesy of Johan Larsson on Flickr

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