The Mobile Friendly Search Algorithm Update – What it Boils Down to

Google has always been relatively vague, as if on purpose, about their algorithm updates. Although SEO campaigners and other digital marketing gurus understand what the update is all about, the consequences and how the algorithm is going to play out for their clients is always a matter of deep speculation even months after the update has been in place. A couple of months ago, Google announced with a substantial amount of clarity that the search algorithm update due on April 21, 2015 will focus on mobile friendliness.

Dawn of the Mobile Era

For sure, this didn’t come as a surprise to anybody as there have been indicators over a couple of years from Google about how important it was to ensure that mobile users have a superlative search experience. With the mobile internet user population explosion over the past 5 years and smart phone searchers speedily outnumbering their desktop counterparts, SEO marketers pretty much saw the writing on the wall a long time ago, but they were able to maintain their client priorities without having to worry about making the site compatible for mobile devices until now.

Time to Buckle Up for the Mobile User

But all that changes now. Business owners who expect a fair chunk of their revenue through their website will now be forced to revisit the drawing board and make the necessary changes if they don’t want to face an immediate drop in rankings on search engine pages after April 21, 2015.

The fact that Google has warned users well in advance about the update shows how determined it is to implement the change without causing too much of trouble to SEO clients and online business owners. It was something inevitable in the face of escalated online traffic to websites through mobile devices. Mobile net traffic now constitutes around 60% of the total volume of internet traffic.

Understanding the Change and Embracing it

For a website owner to successfully survive the update from Google, he/she needs to understand the needs of a technologically evolving customer base. Business owners have to think about how a potential customer would use a mobile device to track down and use their products or services. The navigation and menu outlay all need to be designed to accommodate the behavioural characteristics of a mobile internet user rather than a desktop user.

In a nutshell from a navigational standpoint, it is about moving away from the mouse and into the fingers of a user.

The Responsive Design Factor

Although mobile only websites could be a quick fix to the problem, it is noteworthy that Google recommends “responsive site design.” This is basically because a responsive design eliminates the need for a ‘duplicate’ website just for mobile users and it adapts automatically to any screen size. That being said, implementing a responsive design involves a substantially higher one-time investment. The obvious benefit is that there will be no requirement for future tweaks to accommodate new browsers or updates for existing browsers.

At the end of the day, any update from Google is supposedly focused on improving the overall search experience of the end user. So, if you are a business owner who makes a considerable amount of money through your website and are dependent on your rankings on Google to achieve it, you will have to constantly be making changes to accommodate the needs of an evolving customer base. Becoming mobile friendly is just one step towards this.

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