When HAL asked “what are you doing Dave” in Stanley Kubrick’s film rendition of Arthur C Clarke’s classic “2001, a Space Odyssey”, it epitomised our distrust of autonomous processes that we allow to impact our lives. Pre-programmed devices and services fed from the data we leave in our wake steer our lives more than ever and none more than Google providing answers to your questions on which we all rely to make “informed” decisions.
We all understand that Google chooses answers according to a set of over 200 rules or The Algorithm, and this is continually updated to improve the search results in a fair manner. This will improve some companies’ search results and penalise others. Google, as this Information Age’s big player, is the one we must influence to improve our outcome, but we must play by the rules. Fortunately the rule writer in the Google inner sanctum manages this with responsibility, humanity and common sense.
Deciding on the facts from the hype in the search arena and then seeing how this will affect your presence on the web is the job of the search marketer.
If your presence doesn’t depend on Google search results then just consider your users’ needs when putting your website together, if they use smartphones to see your site it makes sense to provide them a site they can use with near equal benefit as someone on a wider screen device like a tablet or desktop.
If your commercial performance does however depend on the search engine result position then the latest Google algorithm update means you do need to have a website that is properly optimised and that now includes having a properly responsive site; that is one that automatically adapts to the device screen on which it’s displayed. There is considerably more paranoia in the SEO market than with previous Google updates suggesting that its impact will tear the very fabric of the Internet apart especially as it’s given the Hollywood blockbusteresque name of Mobilegeddon, implying that if your site doesn’t work on a mobile device you’re out of business on line. The reality however, some weeks since the release on 21st April, is somewhat mixed. Anyone having lived through and planned for digital Armageddon 15 years ago with the Millennium Bug will tend to be a touch more reflective when it comes to such cataclysmic pronouncements.
The real crux of this is how has this update actually affected websites’ search engine result positions (SERPS) since the Mobilegeddon day. The truth appears to be that the sites without responsive pages are suffering significantly poorer search engine traffic for generic search results, however brand specific searches are affected the least as Google will still naturally refer to the best search result to the brand site, be that a responsive webpage or not.
- This update only affects search results from mobile devices. It does not affect results on searches from Tablets or PC’s.
- It is a page level change and not site wide.
- Quality non-responsive pages may still appear high in the mobile search results if there is superior content.
- If your audience is predominantly desktop you still need to consider that your mobile audience is only going to grow.
Ultimately we should always come back to the simple fact that a good website that best meets the intended audience demands is going to be the winner. So write it well, keep up with and even lead in your market with regards layouts and facilities, keep it relevant, interesting and engaging, and take on board the right expert advice from time to time to stay ahead; then your site will remain in the limelight and return commercially.
- Small and Medium Businesses Hit Hardest By Mobilegeddon
- Bing to Follow In Mobilegeddon’s Footsteps
- 6 Content Tips for Adapting to the Post-Mobilegeddon World
- Optimization Not Only Factor in “Mobilegeddon” Search Ranking
- Google “Mobilegeddon” Has Officially Arrived
Article by Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet LLP
Simon has been developing websites since 1995 and has a wealth of experience in commercial website development.