New Google algorithm, part 1: Moving to Mobile


E-businesses and site owners everywhere are in a panic because it’s time, once again, for an update to Google’s algorithms. And when the search giant updates, websites listen.

A change in algorithms results in huge gains or losses in web traffic for a variety of sites. Google’s process isn’t random though. In the past, Google has changed how it ranks webpages in order to punish snail-paced loading times and diabolical “black hat” SEO techniques. But who’s the target this time? Sites that are “mobile unfriendly.”

What Is Mobile Unfriendly?

  • Sites that don’t scale properly to different screen sizes.
  • Pages that feature tiny text.
  • Cramped elements.

All of these are antagonistic to mobile. Despite the continued rise of mobile use, there are still ecommerce sites of major businesses that don’t pass Google’s mobile-friendly criteria. And according to the search engine behemoth, enough is enough.

The Decree

Google announced that on April 21st, it would roll out new algorithm updates that push mobile-unfriendly websites down the search engine rankings. While these rankings explicitly affect searches initiated on mobile devices, speculation exists that being mobile unfriendly will eventually harm sites on all search results, including desktop. It’s important to understand that this makes sense from Google’s point of view.

Google’s objective is to deliver the best, most relevant sites to its users, including mobile users. A mobile-friendly site presented to mobile devices achieves that. And the new decree for a high-quality mobile experience extends to mobile searches made in all languages, in all countries, on all planets that use Google. Meanwhile, if your site is… immobile, you may get banished from your prime search ranking on page one down to the nether regions of page five or six. Google giveth, and Google taketh away.

Why the emphasis on mobile?

Google’s decision to focus on mobile for their latest algorithm update was not simply made on a whim. The search giant is using hard data to back up the continuing importance of mobile. Based on research on the continued growth of mobile, eMarketer estimated that US adults spent 23% more time using mobile devices per day in 2014 than in 2013.

Delivering a great mobile experience also follows the future needs of demographics. Research from the Pew Research Center breaks down the following percentages for smartphone ownership: ages 18 to 29 – 83%; ages 30 to 49 – 74%; ages 50 to 64 – 49%; and ages 65+ – 19%. As Generation Smartphone gets older, Google anticipates more and more traffic and searches coming from smartphones.

An Edict for Ecommerce

Google’s edict for mobile-friendliness also arises in response to the mobile ecommerce needs of both consumers and online sellers. From their own research, co-conducted with Nielsen, Google reports that consumers are spending in excess of 15 hours a week on research, and that research begins with a search engine. 93% of people who use their device for mobile ecommerce research eventually make a purchase. The conclusion is that consumers rely on their phones to find goods and services more than ever before. And that’s why Google finds a high-quality experience on mobile so important.

Searching for Answers?

If you’re getting googly eyes from the Google update, don’t panic. Dynamicweb is an expert in mobile. Whether your site is mobile-friendly or not (but especially if it’s not), you want to tune into Part II of our blog series on The New Google Algorithm Update. We detail how you and your site can comply with the new Google rules and gain a competitive advantage with mobile.

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New Google algorithm, part 2: Gain a Mobile Advantage
New Google algorithm, part 3: The Fast & Friendliest

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