In 2011 Google introduced the Panda algorithm to deal with on-page content issues, rewarding sites that possessed unique copy and added value to visitors.
But this wasn’t a perfect solution to definitively refine search results – some sites were still manipulating ranking pages via spammy “black hat” methods of linkbuilding. The next year saw Google roll out the Penguin update, penalising these sites by decreasing rankings.
If your organic visibility wasn’t hit by these two updates, there’s a good chance that some of your competitors were.
In the SEO industry, these updates were game changing. “White hat” agencies, championing natural growth through quality content and on-page best practice, saw their clients prosper. Companies employing cheap, manipulative, quick-win tactics had some very difficult discussions about organic traffic disappearing overnight.
On April 21, Google will be rolling out their new mobile algorithm. It’s expected to have a greater impact than both Panda and Penguin and is based on one simple question: is your site mobile friendly?
If it is, you’ve nothing to worry about – and you should see some ranking increases in mobile results pages. But if your site provides a poor experience to users, expect to see a drop in organic mobile traffic.
The mobile update is scheduled for release on April 21, with the full roll-out expected to be complete within the week.
If you aren’t sure how Google currently views your site, then simply type your URL into the new mobile-friendly test tool.
“Awesome! This page is mobile friendly.”
If you receive this notification, get ready to reap the rewards in the revised mobile search results pages.
Eagle-eyed browsers will have already noticed the mobile-friendly notifications with which Google has been experimenting. Any sites without this symbol are due to see a rankings decrease from April 21.
If you’ve been neglecting your mobile audience so far, expect to lose it if you don’t embrace multi-screen. Responsive websites are a popular solution, providing a quality experience to all site visitors no matter what device they browse on.
We’ve been focused on the multi-screen experience since 2009 and, after April, ignoring mobile – no matter your business – is simply no longer an option.
When the average smartphone user picks up their phone 221 times a day, it’s no wonder Google has decided to enhance the mobile browsing experience.
There’ll be those who still don’t consider mobile to be a significant part of their business model; after all, if a site wasn’t mobile friendly it was unlikely to be highly converting, so a loss of mobile traffic shouldn’t be catastrophic, should it?
But this ignores cross-device interaction – something which is much harder to track, but is second nature to many.
How often have you looked at a website on your phone, decided that the checkout process was too difficult on mobile and then used a desktop or tablet to finish the transaction later that evening? This could be tracked as a direct conversion, when actually it began organically on mobile.
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