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Posted by Claire Cahill on 30 March 2015

Get prepared for the Google Mobile Search Algorithm changes coming soon

As you may be aware, Google are about to launch one of the biggest changes to the way their mobile search algorithms work. With the launch date of 21st April fast approaching I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at what these changes will involve and how businesses can best prepare.

So what is it?

Last month Google announced in a blog post that as of 21st April, they are going to change their algorithms for organic search coming from mobile devices.

Someone using their mobile phone outdoors

This effectively means that if someone is using Google to search on a mobile device, websites which are more ‘mobile friendly’ will be shown higher up in the search results than ones that aren’t.

This is a change which affects mobile searches all around the world, in all languages and in their words ‘will have a significant impact in our search results’.

Why are they doing it?

As more and more people use mobile devices (this includes anything from tablets to smartphones), Google want to make sure their users are getting the best - most relevant, highest quality - search results.

Someone using a smartphone and tablet at a table

According to stats from Google, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. They even add that 77% of mobile searches occur at work or at home - where desktop computers are likely to be available but people still choose to use their mobile devices to search.

Many of your potential customers may be searching for and looking at your site on a mobile device, therefore it is hugely important to offer them the best possible experience.

How can I check whether my site is mobile friendly or not?

You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check how your site performs on mobile. This is a quick test that checks things such as if the text is big enough to read, and if the links are big enough to hit with fingers rather than mouse cursors.

What can I do to improve my site?

  • Ideally your website should be responsive - that is, the layout should change to fit different screen sizes so that it’s always easy to use - you don’t just see a zoomed out version of your desktop site. Responsive sites use one URL and one design which make maintenance a lot easier than having a separate mobile website.
  • Check your mobile customer journey. The most important thing is that your customers can complete their objectives - be that finding your phone number or completing a purchase. This may also be slightly different to the desktop site - for example, it may be worth moving primary call to actions such as ‘find us’ nearer to the top.
  • It should also be quick. Not only will this help your customer experience and reduce page abandonment, Google also ranks you higher if your website loads and responds to customers quickly.
  • Check your site doesn’t rely on Flash - if it does then your site won’t display on Apple mobile devices, and the content will be hidden from Google too.

Want some help?

If you need any help preparing for the new Google update then please do get in touch - we would be more than happy to have a chat.

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