A week after Google’s mobile friendly update: let the numbers speak for themselves

Hester Gras

Last week, Google’s mobile friendly algorithm was the main topic of discussion. The algorithm aims at significantly changing the mobile search results to give preference to mobile friendly websites over non-mobile friendly websites. While several blogs started to publish a set of winners and losers, top keywords and other changes, nobody seems to be too impressed with the level of significance in the mobile results. That is, until now… because the algorithm might soon have more impact than any previous one.

On April 21st, Google’s Zineb Ait Bahaji from the Webmaster Trends team said at the SMX Munich that the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will have more impact on Google’s search results than the Google Panda update and Google Penguin did. Barry Schwartz rightly raises the question whether Zineb is talking about a percentage of queries impacted. Is she saying that this is impacting 40% of mobile search queries, whereas Panda impacted about 12% of all English queries and Penguin was closer to 4% of global queries across both desktop and mobile? But Zineb from Google did not specifically announce a percentage of queries impacted.

Why we need to recognise that mobile is winning

Marijn Deurloo, CEO imgZine: “The Mobilegeddon or Mobocalypse, as they call it, is a very important development. As the new Google algorithm will impact searches done on smartphones, the shift to mobile cannot be ignored any longer by big brands. According to eMarketer, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass two billion in 2016 and over one-third of consumers worldwide will use smartphones by 2018. We Are Social also reported that mobile phones show the biggest year-on-year increase in web page views compared to laptops, desktops, tablets and other devices. Knowing these numbers it is surprising how common it still is to come across websites which haven’t been optimised for the smartphone or other mobile devices.”

Smartphones are changing the way we live our lives. Source: Hollandse Hoogte.
Smartphones are changing the way we live our lives. Source: Hollandse Hoogte.

How to make a mobile friendly website

In order for a site to be considered mobile-friendly, a website’s text needs to be readable without tapping and zooming. It’s tap targets need to be spaced out appropriately, and the page needs to avoid unplayable content or horizontal scrolling. In other words, it needs to be easy to use.

In this context, TechCrunch mentioned mobile applications, which provide an easy way of interacting with content. They are built especially with a mobile device’s small size in mind and able to take advantage of mobile features like push notifications. In addition, Marijn Deurloo says, “Apps can make the reading experience even more engaging by analysing the reading behaviour of users and find out who prefers long copy, short copy, images, and so on. By doing so, companies are able to provide a different mobile reading experience to different users.”

Do you think the Google mobile friendly update has been such a significant one? Let us know in the comments below!


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