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
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
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
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.