Ready or not, these are mobile times, and for sites that rely on search results, this week’s mobile-friendly algorithm update from Google make that fact impossible to ignore.
Google’s highly anticipated algorithm update goes into effect April 21st, leaving many smartphone users and business owners wondering how the change will impact mobile search results.
The changes to the algorithm are designed to return results that are formatted to a user’s device, for an optimal user experience. For this reason, websites that are mobile-optimized will fare better and achieve higher search ranking than websites that are not mobile-ready. The change will likely impact up to 12% of mobile searches.
It has been confirmed that only Google’s organic mobile search listings, aka the “10 blue links”, will be affected.
Google News and Businesses with websites ranking in Google’s local pack will not be impacted by the new mobile change. As reported by Search Engine Journal earlier this month, “If only the 10 blue links are affected, it may be safe to assume that image and video search rankings will not be impacted either, [but that has yet to be confirmed].”
This update is the biggest algorithm update in 4 years. In Q1 2011, Google rolled out its first major algorithm update called Google Panda, in an effort to prevent low quality sites and/or pages from ranking well in the search engine results page. The change had an impact on nearly 12% of all search results. Since then, a continual stream of less noticeable updates have been introduced, with the most recent Panda 4.0 updates released in September 2014.
In 2012, when Google released its Penguin algorithm update, the change was said to have impacted 3.1% of English search queries, as well as 3% of websites in languages such as German, Chinese and Arabic. The purpose of the Penguin update was to prevent or discourage the use of “black-hat SEO” techniques or link schemes aimed at achieving high search rankings.
This week’s mobile-friendly update is indeed, a sign of the times, and further proof that whatever business you are in, you are also in the mobile business.