Mobile-friendly devices go to top of class with Google’s new algorithm


Image of two phones showing which one Google will like better so its mobile search algorithm will rank it higher than a site it doesn't like as much.
Google has changed its mobile search algorithm to give priority to websites that it classifies as mobile-friendly. Image on right is what you now want. (Google)

Does your mobile website look the same on your cell phone as it does on your desktop — except smaller and impossible to read and navigate? If so, you could be in trouble. Really big trouble.

On Tuesday (April 21, 2015), Google changed its mobile search algorithm to give  priority to websites it considers mobile-friendly. That means it your site was designed to look one way on a big horizontall screen and another on a smaller vertical screen that looks different and is readable without having to zoom in, Google likes you. It’s kinda like the CEO of a company giving you a seal of approval.

If you use WordPress to make websites, like I do for clients, your site is responsive. That means you don’t need two, or more, different designs you pay for individually. it happens automatically and looks great.

But having different looks for different devices is a no-brainer with or without Google’s blessing. However, remember this:

— Google’s share of the American search engine market is about 65 percent, according to research company comScore.

— Google also feeds search results to  AOL.com, Earthlink.com, Comcast.net.

— Google owns You Tube

— Google has 85 percent of the market share for search in Europe’s five largest economies, including Britain, France and Germany. (96 percent of the entire EU). Who cares if they won’t walk through the front door of your small business, click are clicks and Google likes clicks.

And this is not just a small biz issue. Unbelievably, behemoths such as  Nintendo, Versace and Kroger have sites Google has classified as not mobile-friendly.

Google’s blog says all is not lost.

“While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”

OK. But, really? The majority of searches today are done on mobile devices, nearly two-thirds, so why wouldn’t a business want to look good on a cell phone?! Geez, Louise.

Google Blog does on to warn, “If your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search. But have no fear, once your site becomes mobile-friendly, we will automatically re-process your pages.”

Reminds me of moms everywhere saying if you eat your veggies you can have dessert.

So. Just. Do it.

To check if your site is mobile-friendly, you can examine individual pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test or check the status of your entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools.  You can also expedite the process by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index, and then your pages can be treated as mobile-friendly in ranking.

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