Google is introducing a mobile update that will change the way both users and businesses interact with the Internet. Particularly, the update will focus on bringing a prominence to mobile search results, rather than traditional, or desktop versions of websites. Essentially, a prioritization will take place that will make mobile websites more visible and more prominently placed in search results – given the fact that some statistics reveal that as many as 60% of searches take place on mobile devices.
The concern right now, as Google is updating its algorithms, revolves around the idea that Google is going to demote certain sites, if they do not meet certain mobile-friendliness standards that the company is deeming necessary. In fact, one analyst has even predicted that it could actually impact as many as 40% of the entire Fortune 500 list, as it sits today. That’s a big number, and that’s an important figure to remember as we head into the coming days, weeks, months, and years.
The problem with this though is that it puts way too much authority in the hands of Google, as a search engine. Also, this ironically coordinates with the EU’s efforts to break Google’s search engine presence up. They argue that Google manipulates search results to actually benefit their own operation. That’s a big claim, but in this situation, many are pointing out how this is just another example of Google manipulating the market – due to their massive amount of market share in the search space – to actually spur larger change in the industry.
Since so many people do search via mobile devices, some could argue that this move isn’t just intentional, but also a good thing. Mobile devices are obviously the future, and this is obviously a problem if sites that aren’t “mobile-friendly” continue to get significant push on Google. However, it’s important to note that not every company or “result” listed on Google’s search engine is a Fortune 500 company. Instead, most of them are smaller, less-expensive operations. That’s the larger problem here that is being exposed by this change in the coding and algorithms that Google uses.
Takaki Makino of Google pointed out in a blog post that, “We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results,” which officially ushered in the changes that would eventually set of alarms all over the Internet. It was even referred to as “Mobilegeddon” in some parts of the Internet, which feels like a reach in some ways – but in others – and for those who will be hardest hit by this news, the consequences could be harsh.
The biggest thing users can do at this point to make sure that they stay ahead of the curve with this algorithm update, would be to ensure that all pages are indexed and properly displaying “mobile-friendly” stamps that traditionally indicate legitimacy in a mobile environment. Since the update will only impact searches are done on mobile devices, and not those done on desktop computers or even tablets – it’s important to understand the things that need to be done – if the company or user wants their website to display properly. However, Google has pointed out that it could take as long as 72-hours for sites to display properly. Others have said that more complex sites, or even those that are smaller could take a month or more to move into the update properly.
Right now though, the biggest thing anyone can do is taking the entire update with a grain of salt. Obviously, ensure that your site is mobile-friendly is key. However, it’s unclear at this point whether the new search algorithm will negatively impact sites that are not mobile-friendly. If they aren’t negatively impacted, perhaps companies won’t have to go to such extreme measures to ensure that their site still ranks where it has to this point.