by Guest Blogger Michael Harrison
On April 21, 2015, Google changed its latest search algorithm, only this time, it wasn’t a change to improve content or simplify website navigation.
The Internet is abuzz over Mobilegeddon – Google’s latest algorithm – and if you aren’t up to speed your down in page rank – big time!
Google controls 87% of all online search so when this behemoth hiccups the whole Internet realm takes notice. Couple that gigantic market share with the move away from desktop computers and big screens, and you’ve got Mobilegeddon.
The result? If your website doesn’t look good on smaller smartphone screens you’ll lose page rank. Why? Currently, 40% of Internet search takes place using portable devices – smartphones, tablets, minis – the days of the desktop big screen computer are coming to an end. By 2017, Inc. magazine projects that the vast majority of us will access the Internet using smartphones and tablets.
Google has always maintained that a positive online experience for its users is the search engine’s number one concern, and if more and more of us are accessing the Internet using smartphones and tablets, websites must display well on these smaller screens or get a slap on the wrist from the Google gang.
However, Google has made it very simple for website owners and managers to test their existing sites for mobile friendliness with a free mobile friendly test site. Just enter your site’s URL and let Google tell you what needs to be fixed. If you need more information on improving site rank under Google’s new rules, visit Google’s Official Mobile SEO Guide to discover just what Google wants and how to deliver.
Why the big change in online search?
Simply put, a better Internet experience
Using your dot.com website requires visitors to scroll up, down, right and left to see the “big picture” when accessing your online presence using a smaller screen. So, as of April, 2015, if you’re website doesn’t look good on the smaller smartphone screens, or if your download to a tablet takes too long, Google is going to slap you with a negative ranking factor and you may go from page 1 of search engine results pages (SERPs) to page 342 of SERPs, and when was the last time you scrolled through 342 SERPs to find what you’re looking for.
Google is mandating changes in online search, and it can do it. Hey, if you don’t show up on Google, you basically don’t show up. Neither do clients or customers.
Google wants fast downloads on all devices that use online search. Got questions about the download speed of your website? You should, and once again, Google will help you test page download speed and provide the tools and the information you or your site developer need to be mobile-ready.
So, what do the experts in online search see in Google’s new search algorithm changes? The need for you to make changes to your dot.com website. If you don’t, you can be sure your competitors will and that’s going to hurt. A lot.
It’s time to make changes to your site design – big changes, deep changes, changes that improve the onsite experience for visitors using smartphones to find you.
What does Google suggest?
First, reduce image file sizes wherever possible. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but if it slows downloads to a smartphone you’ll be penalized with a lower page rank.
Eliminate Flash carousels and other eye candy. Flash adds movement to images, but Flash animation takes time to download. The longer the download, the lower your website’s page rank.
Stick to vertical scrolling. We’re all used to scrolling up and down on our iPhones and other smart digital devices. If your mobile friendly website requires visitors to scroll horizontally to get the “whole” picture, you get slapped with a negative SERPs ranking factor.
Make your website smarter. A site builder can create a website using an adaptive design that looks good on any-sized screen. So, first, your website should “know” how it’s being viewed – on a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, TV, game console, or some other digital device with Internet access. Then, it can be programed to adapt to the device on which it’s viewed. The consensus among search engine optimizers (SEOs) is that this is the direction Google is taking us.
Add a mobile version of your existing website designed just for small screen viewing. You can keep your existing dot.com site for big screen viewing while directing smartphone and tablet users to your dot.mobi version of your company’s website.
Take your time to do it right. The good news about this seismic shift in online search is that it’ll take time to upgrade to adaptive websites that know how they’re being viewed. That means that all of your competitors are running double-time to create adaptive websites that look good on all devices all of the time.
The objective of Google’s algorithm change is to create mobile-friendly websites as more and more of us use smartphones to access the Internet. There aren’t any secrets; no hidden agenda. Google wants its users to have the best online, on-site experience.
America’s National Public Radio (NPR) reported that a recent test of 25,000 web pages showed that 10,000 websites failed Google’s mobile-readiness guidelines. Even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and drugstore.com tanked in the website mobility test, so if your site ranks poorly you aren’t alone.
However, as more and more businesses turn to adaptive websites that are “smart” enough to know they’re being viewed on a smartphone, Google’s page rank factors will sort themselves out.
In the meantime, test your website using Google’s tools, and get ready to get mobile.
We’re all on the move. Time to revise your website with a deep cleaning, and a simplified design that smartphone users will employ to find you.