“Mobile-friendly” – The Google way to go

Have you ever tried to view a site on your phone and you find yourself zooming in and out, unable to locate the right button and possibly failing to view the entire page? Well, from now on, you might not be faced with such challenges as Google – the world’s biggest search engine – has initiated a system that will reward sites with “mobile-friendly” designs and demote those which aren’t optimized for mobile programing. This new mobile-focused algorithm will radically alter the ranking scale on Google’s all-important search results as it is set to affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide.

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No doubt mobile usability has been a factor in Google’s search algorithm as sites that are properly optimized for use on mobile devices are given the mobile-friendly tag associated with various sites in mobile search result, as opposed to their non-optimized counterparts. These tags however have not been clear on what factors Google considers when calculating mobile rankings or how many sites are currently affected. As a result, many business owners have suspended or evaded optimizing their sites for mobile devices, and have survived to tell about it. Unlike the previous system, this improved algorithm will take into full consideration the specifics on how mobile-friendly a website is.

Although the company often makes improvement to its algorithms and technology powering search, they very rarely make announcements about such changes. In this case however, google took the step of alerting sites in February that the change was coming, and giving tips on how to prepare for it. This announcement by Google led to wide panic as it is assumed that the algorithm will bring about a huge effect that would potentially alter traffic and subsequently revenue for a number of sites that heavily bank on search results and thus will result to what has colloquially become known as ‘Mobilegeddon’.

Designed to help users find search results formatted for their device, the anticipated algorithm will reinforce Google’s mobile-focus. While Google has not given figures on the percentage of web searches that are likely to be affected, it maintains an avenue for sites to test themselves and know how they be affected by the change. While the change is profitable to consumers as it will push establishments to make their sites more usable on mobile devices (which is the most accessible to them), it is bad news for many operators as most leading sites have failed Google’s “mobile-friendly” tests  and may be down-graded as a result.

The upshot from the update for sites and services is estimated to force more companies to adopt mobile sites and more responsive designs. Some critics maintain that Google is making this improvement to mobile search as a way to tackle the tough competition from Facebook for mobile ad revenue. However, Jovago.com, Africa’s No 1 Online Hotel Booking site has this advice for you: Make your website mobile-friendly and relevant so you will have good prospect at ranking high in Google search. It certainly is the best way to go.




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