Surviving Google’s ‘Mobile-geddon’
Starting today, Google is favoring Web pages that are mobile-friendly in its search results, a tweak of its search engine algorithm that had the tech press reeling over the fact that pages from popular sites like Wikipedia, companies like Microsoft and news outlets like the BBC did not pass Google’s test.
The update shows Mountain View’s strong commitment to mobile.
“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly Web pages or apps,” Google’s team wrote in a post for Web developers back in February. “As more people use mobile devices to access the Internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.”
A page’s position in Google’s search rankings vastly affects the amount of traffic it receives. Studies show that over 60 percent of searchers click through on one of the first five search results. Google’s Panda update in 2011, aimed at knocking low-quality sites (like those run by Demand Media) further down in results, caused major turmoil and plenty of slow deaths among the content farms popular in the late aughts.
Mobile is an important battlefield for everyone — tech giants, advertisers and everyday users — and updates like the recent change from Google shifts how we will continue going forward. Similarly, programmatic marketing, a concept supported by many agencies but actually used by few, goes hand-in-hand with adapting to mobile.
At the upcoming ad:tech conference in San Francisco this May, you can learn all about programmatic in just 50 minutes from a panel featuring executives from companies including Hulu and Wells Fargo.
The latest update will put pages Google considers mobile-friendly further up in search results but only for those users on smartphones (not tablets as of yet) and the tweak won’t affect online searches. Also, Google is looking at individual Web pages for mobile-friendliness, not entire websites.
“We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” Google noted. “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
While it is fun to say “Mobilegeddon,” the change isn’t as cataclysmic as some are putting out, and Google is being more than helpful with tests and tips to optimize your Web pages to pass its new algorithm.