Mobilegeddon: What Google's change means for you

It's the million dollar question: how does Google actually work? The answer: no one (except a select few at the company's HQ) really knows. What we do know, however, is that Google's algorithm is changing.

Put simply, an algorithm is a sequence of instructions or a set of rules that are followed to complete a task. In Google terms, the algorithm is a set of rules that is applied to websites and their webpages when conducting a search, and it's the outcome of these rules that determines how highly a website ranks in the results.

Google changes its algorithms regularly so that search engine optimisation (SEO) experts can't figure out the system, and then manipulate their company or client website organically to the top of the search results page, with the clever use of key words. These changes and updates are often given funny names too - again, we're not sure why. We've had Panda, Penguin and even a Pigeon to name but a few. The newest update is yet to be named but regardless of title, it comes into force this week, and could have a huge impact on your business if you're not prepared.

The latest Google algorithm will be rolled out on Tuesday 21st April, and will penalise websites that are not responsive. In other words, if your website is not mobile friendly, you'll potentially appear lower down in Google search results than you would have done before the new algorithm came in to force.

So how do you know if your website is responsive? It's simple really. Visit the website in question from your mobile phone or tablet. If you have to pinch the screen to make the visual fit the page so you can view the content, your website is not mobile friendly.

But why should you be bothered? Well, mobile devices and tablets now account for on average over 50% of web traffic, and your business will really start to suffer if your site isn't properly optimised to cater for all devices. Imagine 25% of customers not being able to find your website in the results of a Google search because your site isn't mobile friendly. How would that affect your brand image, reputation, even your bottom line?

Ultimately, in order to engage with your target audience - whether it's to communicate a message or to complete a sale - your website must be searchable in order for your audience to be able to find you and then make that point of contact with your company. If you can't be found, you can expect to see a significant shift in your website traffic - and not for the best.

Think about it, unless we know the exact address of the web site we're looking for, our first port of call is normally Google.

So what do you do if your website isn't mobile friendly? First of all pay attention - if you don't want to be lost in cyberspace and have poor organic visibility (remember, you can always pay for sponsored listings through a Google AdWords campaign - more on that another time), you must ‘think mobile' and make your website response.

Secondly, don't panic. Google's new algorithm does come into play this month, but it will gradually be rolled out worldwide, so there is still time to make the changes needed to help boost your search rankings. The point is, you need to act now.

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Tags: r//evolution

Posted by Adam Blenkinsop
on April 21, 2015