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How to survive the Google mobile-friendly roll-out

It is the most used search engine on the web, it handles more than 3 billion searches each day and online sources now claim that almost 50% of its traffic comes from mobile devices. Google is responsible for introducing numerous and novel business channels, many of which become profitable. But, to ensure you get the most from Google, you have to play by their rules.

Why does a Google algorithm update matter?

Google algorithms make sure that search engine results are as relevant to users as possible. The highly relevant websites are shown at the top of the list and the least relevant websites are shown at the end.

What many people don't realise is that Google search engine algorithm changes happen frequently (some figures  stated are in the hundreds per year) but, only a select few make the news. These changes, contrary to popular belief, are necessary, but not always welcome. Back in 2011 and then in 2012 the Panda and Penguin updates raised a haughty ruckus across all industries as websites employing particular SEO techniques were punished and stripped of their top ranking positions, until they could undo the 'offending' SEO efforts. Google dismissed several prevalent methods of optimising websites for it's search engine in favour of promoting on-site quality content and natural backlinks.

These changes mattered and fundamentally changed the way we optimise websites for search engines.

The mobile-friendly update

The recent Google update, coined ‘Mobilegeddon’, was announced at the beginning of 2015. Starting 21st April, Google sought to expand their use of “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal. The change was to affect mobile searches i.e. only search results delivered to mobile devices, and was applied to all languages worldwide.

How could you be affected?

Your website could only be affected by the changes if it is not “mobile-friendly”. While this change is deemed “important” by Google, there are still a variety of other signals used to rank search results. Nevertheless, websites whose traffic is comprised of sessions from mobile devices may be affected i.e. not ranking as highly for mobile searches.

What next?

It’s important to remember that your website is your online shop front. You may conduct business behind the scenes, but it is often the first port of call for many of your customers. To ensure you survive this update, and are prepared for future changes, take note of the following:

  1. your website will need to be mobile-friendly (Google explains this here). There’s no avoiding it. The way it displays content and the user experience must adapt for use on mobile devices.
  2. Give your audience only the information they need to know. Cut the waffle.
  3. Ensure a high level of writing across your website
  4. Invest in improving user experience and engagement where it matters – landing pages, most visited pages etc.

At RMA, we think these points are critical, not just for overcoming changes to search engines, but to successfully deploy any website. We ensure that any website we create offers quality content, a vibrant and engaging experience, and delivers the right results. We’ve recognised and confronted the problem posed by the changing nature of online search so that you can adapt rapidly and get the most from your online assets. If you’re thinking about redeveloping a website or you’re concerned about the recent mobile-friendly Google update, why not get in touch with us?