20 April 2015

Google is Changing!

Google have recently announced that they are changing their search algorithm.  From April 21st, mobile friendliness will become a greater factor in search results.  This is intended to increase the quality of search results for mobile users.


What's changing?


Essentially, if your site isn't friendly for mobile users then your ranking will drop.  Google has already confirmed that the update will be significant, bigger even that their two previous major changes (code-named Penguin and Panda in case you'd like to search for more info on these) which both wreaked havoc on thousands of websites whilst equally cleaning up results for users.


How does this affect me?


The first thing to do is to identify if your site is mobile friendly.  Head over to Google Webmasters and insert your website URL.  Google will tell you how friendly your site is for mobile users.  Some of the questions Google will ask when testing the site are:

  • Are the fonts too small?
  • Are clickable links/buttons too close to each other?
  • Do you have viewport tags configured?
  • Is your content sized to the viewport (do users have to scroll left and right)?

Essentially, what Google wants to know is can someone access your website on their mobile without having to zoom in or scroll left and right, and can they easily press links and buttons with their fingers?  If the answer to these questions is yes, you'll probably be ok.

What can I do?

The simplest way to identify which specific changes to make, and how to make them, is to access Webmaster Tools and navigate to Search Traffic, then Mobile Usability, where Google will tell you which pages have issues and how to fix them.


Fortunately, Google's algorithm is on a page-by-page basis, meaning if your homepage is fine but the contact page isn't then it's only the contact page that will slip in mobile rankings.  This is good news for those with limited time and resources to meet the deadline as you can prioritise the most important pages.


Given that the changes are from 21st April, it's crucial that the most important pages of your site are mobile friendly as soon as possible (the update will be rolling out across the week so you may have a few days before Google gets to your site).


One option for this is to investigate a responsive deign website that adapts depending on the device being used to view it.


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This Newsletter, of necessity, has dealt with matters of a technical nature in general terms only. Clients should contact us for detailed information on any of the items in the Newsletter. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting in reliance upon any material in this Newsletter can be accepted by any member or employee of the firm.

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