Posted on 25 April 2015
It’s being billed as either the future of on-the-go internet searching or another of Google’s impossible hoops for businesses to jump through.
Google’s latest algorithm changes, dubbed Mobilegeddon by the media, mean that if Google senses a search is being done on a mobile device, whether it’s an iOS iPhone, Android or Windows device, it will automatically promote mobile-optimised sites up their rankings.
Detractors say the changes, first announced back in February, are merely a way for Google to crowbar money out of advertisers for directing customers to their mobile sites.
But Google executives are adamant that the development will simply mean mobile users are led to sites which look and work better on the device they are using.
For now at least, super strong content matching Google’s other search algorithms can push a non-mobile enabled site back up the listings but it’s a risk for businesses to rely on that.
Mobile optimisation includes larger fonts, to make text easier to read on a smaller screen, spaced out links, preventing accidental clicking, and dropping plug ins such as Flash which often don’t work on mobile devices.
The criteria for mobile optimisation are also assessed on a page by page basis which gives businesses the chance to direct mobile users to a specific part of their site related to sales for example, or a request for more information.
It’s not just small businesses who will fall foul of the new rules – one recent search flagged up websites from the Department of Homeland Security, the BBC and Wikipedia as moving down the mobile rankings after the changes came into place.
To check if your website meets Google’s mobile criteria, check out www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly. And if turns out your website is one of the many which are most certainly not mobile friendly? The only feasible and complete option is a site rebuild but with around half of all searches now done on smartphones, it could be money very well spent indeed.