Surviving the Google Mobile Algorithm Shake-Up

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Written by
John Gamble
So Interactive Copywriter

Google has once again turned things upside down with major changes to their ranking algorithm, which came into effect on 21 April. The changes, which focus on mobile device compatibility, have sent ripples through the online marketing community, and have been met with a lot of trepidation about how rankings will be effected and how to reverse a drop or capitalise on the new changes. Here are a few things to consider as the dust settles and we all come to terms with the impact of the change.

Firstly, the biggest group that is being effected are those small businesses that are running on quick and easy DIY template builders. A lot of the lower end template based websites have not factored in mobile friendly template compatibility, yet. This means that a lot of smaller businesses will be effected by the change purely because they are not looking at the larger outlay required to create a fully responsive site. However, that being said, once the dust has settled some of the template platforms may introduce mobile friendly adaptors to their template lists. The question of course is, “how long will it take for this to happen and can your small business enterprise afford to be on page ten while you wait for the upgrade?”

The next biggest group to be effected by this change will be businesses that have created beautiful, intricate sites, which have not been prepped for mobile and which have a large number of mobile users. This includes restaurants, ecommerce sites and other impulse or real-time sites where people want to access the information from their phone and make an immediate decision. If you fall into one of these categories and have not even taken the responsive plunge, let alone creating a mobi option, then you will definitely be on shaky ground when it comes to mobile search results. We have already seen a number of sites in this category get moved from the top of page one to the bottom, if not shifting to page two on mobile. And, although Google has said this will only effect mobile search, some of these sites have taken a knock on conventional desktop and PC listings, so this is where it is vital to get the Google mobile mojo right.

Lastly, we have sites which are not really frequented by mobile users, although it’s difficult to identify exactly who falls into this category nowadays. In the last three years we have seen all our Google analytics reports shift from a PC heavy device flow to a clear balance between mobile and PC device usage across all industries. One does not need a crystal ball to predict that over the next two years the weight will move, strongly, in favour of the mobile device, and Google is simply acting on the data they are seeing. So, even if your site and industry is not obviously going to be used by mobile device visitors today, that may not be true for very much longer.

As usual, Google is reading the signs and changing the game based on what the users are doing. Even though you may be muttering about a possible slip in traffic and online revenue at the moment, Google is simply offering us all the opportunity to prep ourselves for the next full revolution in device usage. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you are going to make the change while it’s still relatively easy and the impact is nominal on your online business presence; or are you going to wait until you have dropped to page infinity on Google, which we all know is somewhere past page ten.

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