Search giant Google has recently announced an update to its algorithms meaning that having a mobile responsive website is more important than ever before.
The company revealed the update in its Webmaster Central Blog, which explained that from May this year, sites that are not designed to work on mobile devices will be penalised when it comes to appearing in the search engine’s rankings.
At present, sites that are not mobile friendly appear slightly lower down in the rankings on mobile devices, with searches being programmed to bring up mobile friendly sites first.
Google recognised that mobile searches would eclipse desktop searches back in 2014. It stated that the number of searches being conducted on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets would surpass the number searched for on desktop during 2015. Lo and behold, in April 2015, the company announced that its prediction had come true.
In preparation for the change in primary search device, the search giant started an initiative that marked sites that work perfectly on multiple platforms and highlighted this during searches, recommending that website owners take the appropriate actions.
The American firm’s mobile friendly algorithm was launched back in April 2015, just as mobile searches overtook desktop searches, and now the company has announced an update that will enhance and increase the effects of mobile friendly websites.
Sites that are not mobile friendly by May this year will face the prospect of being ranked much lower than they are at present, with sites designed for mobile use benefiting. However, Google has assured the public that this will be a gradual change and sites will not face a major drop in their rankings overnight when the algorithm update is released. It remains unclear how long this will be for – days, weeks or months – but it gives companies enough time to prepare for a potential apocalypse of the search rankings.
Google’s algorithm is a page-by-page signal, which means it can take a bit of time for the company to assess each page and determine whether it is mobile friendly or not. This is the most logical explanation for the gradual introduction of the update, so it could all come down to how fast the Google bots can crawl.
Google has already reassured those with responsive sites that they do not need to worry about the update, meaning that it will have less impact compared to the original mobile-friendly update last year, which was labelled ‘Mobilegeddon’.
With this announcement, businesses around the world will need to check that their sites are ready for the update by ensuring they work on mobile platforms.