3 Questions You Need to Know the Answers to: Google’s Mobile First Algorithm

Fellow tech nerds and online enthusiasts alike will already be aware that on 21st April, Google is set to introduce their new ‘mobile first’ algorithm. Google tend to introduce new algorithms pretty regularly though they usually consist of minor changes which do not sufficiently alter organic search rankings, which is why only the most significant ones are overtly advertised. This particular update will create large changes in how your website ranks on the search engine results page (SERP) dependent upon the device an individual uses to search. This means that if your company website is not mobile friendly and someone searches one of your industry key words using their iPhone, then chances are, you wont make the cut as far as getting on the first SERP.

So this poses the question; “How will I know if my site is mobile friendly enough for Google?” As per usual, Google is one-step ahead of you guys with that one. They have created a mobile friendliness testing tool which anyone can use – that’s pretty helpful. This tool will give you a definitive answer as to whether your site is up to scratch and if it isn’t it also tells you what you can do to rectify the issue. Google emphasised that these results had to be clear-cut i.e a yes or no, because having a website that is only 50% mobile optimised would cause difficulty when indexing websites.

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However, it’s not all gravy. When I was playing around with this tool testing various different websites and comparing them to what I actually saw on my mobile (I know, what a fun life I lead), I noticed that the results didn’t always mirror what I was seeing on my iPhone. This may be a ‘real time delay’ which is the time in between visits from Google’s crawlers which read and index sites but whatever the case, it’s just a bit annoying sometimes.

So the second natural question to ask would be; “So how much will my rankings be affected?” Well those guys at Google were a little more vague on this one. It doesn’t seem entirely clear as to whether some devices will be affected more or less than others. For instance, it would make sense that Android devices would be more affected initially compared to iOS devices. Also, it will be interesting to see whether or not Google stick to their guns when it comes to their stance on tablets, asserting that they are more like desktops when browsing than they are like mobile phones. However, It does seem that android tablets are starting to include App results, so it seems likely that Google are changing their minds on this one and considering tablets as strictly mobile come 21st April.

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The final thing you may find yourself asking yourself is “But, why Google? Whyyy?!” Ok, maybe not in such a despairing, desperate manner but we’re all wondering what Google get out of this. In all honesty, there are countless reasons which ultimately all result in the same outcome; a better customer experience and monetisation. If Google can increase positive experiences on their SERPs whilst increasing their ability to make money then its a win-win situation right? Recently Google have come under treat from digital media sources like Amazon and Hulu and this algorithm will allow them to start monetising their own stuff like movies and music by increasing the likelihood of their Apps surfacing on SERPs. Pretty clever huh.

So, put simply, if you don’t know whether your site is optimised for mobile, then test it. If you get a positive answer then congratulations but if you get a negative result, then you probably want to do something about it or be banished to a far off land where very few venture and even less know of… the second Google results page (scary).

Thanks for reading (:

GN

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