There’s an end times vibe going around the Internet today as Google updated its’ search algorithm that would factor how a website is viewed on a smartphone. If you knew about the changing in code then today should not bother you. Those doing the complaining are the ones that had no idea this was going to happen, even though Google has repeatedly warn users about the change in code for several months.
Announced at the beginning of the year and implemented today, Google has updated is algorithm so that websites that can be viewed on mobile get higher rankings than those that aren’t friendly to the small screen. This only applies to search being done on a mobile screen, desktop search are unaffected.
What does Google look for? According to TechCrunch:
. . . in order for a site to be considered mobile-friendly, its text has to be readable without tapping and zooming, its tap targets need to be spaced out appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.
Google set up a mobile test so webmasters can test their design to see if it’s in compliant. OpenBayou is in compliant and has been for several years as our website uses responsive design – one set of code that allows this site to be viewed on multiple devices.
What’s with the yelling? Nobody is ready for the change.
According to a study conducted by Pure Oxygen labs on 100 companies featured in the Fortune 500, two-thirds (44%) of are not ready for the update. Those that are mobile-ready, only 6% are in compliance with Google.
Why did Google implement this change? Because webmasters went the lazy route to make website mobile friendly by adding code to forward users to a mobile version of the existing site instead of making the existing website use a responsive design. You can always tell when a webmaster went the simple route by adding m to any website in the address bar and see if a mobile version appears.
It also annoys users on social networks when their friends share a mobile link (m.website.com) and they view that link on a desktop.
The above example is what Google is trying to fix, one address to viewed on every device; not a website for desktop and another copy of the same website for mobile users.
Search Engine land has a great Q&A on the change and what it means for those that aren’t ready.
What we don’t know when will we see results of change. Google told Search Engine Land that will take “several weeks” for the results to be updated for mobile so if your website failed Google mobile test, start updating your website ASAP.
Those that were ready for the change, start enjoy seeing your website at the top of search results.