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designer and developer
designer and developer
Googlegeddon - Apple iPad displaying mobile friendly Google website


Apple iPad displaying mobile friendly Google website

Image Credit: ©2020 Eddie Green

Last updated November 2019

Mobilegeddon - time to go mobile

On 21st March 2015 Google changes it's algorithms for ranking websites in search results based on how mobile friendly the website is. Find out why, whether your site passes Google's tests, and what to do if it doesn't

The new mobile search algorithm went into effect on Tuesday. Google gave advanced notice to website operators to prepare, but some sites, especially smaller ones, may not be aware of the changes or may simply not yet have made mobile friendliness a high-enough priority.

What is Google doing?

If you are at all interested in where your website content may appear in the results of a Google search then their latest change to how their data is gathered and displayed is an important one if your website is not already a 'responsive' or mobile friendly one.

Google update their records for websites using 'webbots' that gather information about its contents, including 'invisible' information, and how it relates to other pages online. In the past, Google has continuously evolved what it looks for and how the results are displayed in order to provide better search results.

Last year saw an important shift for Google. Using its powerful influence on website developers it started to flex its muscles, largely for the public good, with an emphasis on significant and original content. Webbots began checking copy for duplication from other sites, and also started scoring for accessibility - how friendly your page appeared in plain text and for screen readers for sight impaired users.

The latest change to their data gathering algorithms now check for code that renders a website that is simplified or specifically reorganised for small screen devices. In doing this, Google is using its influence to shape the development of sites, which is something far beyond its previous objectives.

For anyone browsing a website on a tablet or mobile phone, older sites are difficult to view and navigate, so this gentle pressure on website owners and developers can only be a good thing. The use of mobile devices is rapidly increasing, with usage in 2014 at around 35%, according to Wikimedia, with much higher estimates from other sources.

Google's important change

Google searches made on a phone will discriminate in favour of links to pages that look good on a smaller phone screen. This means that mobile browsers will be much less likely to see content from a desktop only site unless that site has highly significant content related to your search or is not available on a mobile friendly one.

Google have provided a Mobile-Friendly Test to determine whether your website meets Google's new criteria. Enter your website address and and Google will advise whether it meets the new standard or not, and will pinpoint any specific issues it finds and suggest ways to make the site more mobile friendly.

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