April 27, 2015

Comprend's experts discuss Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm

Last week was officially the day when Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm went into effect. The Media are referring to this as …

Last week was officially the day when Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm went into effect. The Media are referring to this as “mobilegeddon”, but we at Comprend consider these changes as a coming of age story – rather than the end of the world. It marks an important paradigm shift and reinforces the significance of mobile devices in today’s digital world.

When Google says something is important, people listen. And now the influential search engine is telling us that it’s high time to prioritise mobile-friendly sites. With the latest algorithm, Google will favour responsive websites by boosting their search rankings on smartphones and tablets, while those that are not responsive, will be downgraded in Google’s mobile search results or not shown at all if the search originates from a mobile device.

If this leaves you feeling anxious that your site will be penalised, you’re not alone. Our experts are here to help shed some light on the topic.

Kalle Hanson, Senior UX Designer

Kalle Hanson, Senior UX Designer at Comprend

It’s important to remember that this isn’t doom and gloom; Google makes these changes with the user in mind. Reading articles where you have to pinch and zoom to read text does not make for a good user experience. Think of how frustrating it is when you try to click links that are too close together on a mobile device. Making your site responsive means improving the viewer’s experience, which is something all websites should prioritise.

What you can do:

  1. Try out Google’s Mobile Friendly test or Web Master Tools, which give you a status report to see if you are penalised in the search results.

  2. Keep in mind that not all issues are found by the tools, and they don´t look at the content and structure. To really optimise the site, do manual reviews and real-user testing on your design.

Staffan Lindgren, Managing Partner

Staffan Lindgren, Managing Partner at Comprend

Mobile prioritisation should not come as a surprise to those working in the digital arena. It’s a basic requirement in today’s landscape and Google’s changes signify that mobile is coming into it’s own. It is important to alter our perceptions and realise that a site can’t be user-friendly unless it is mobile-friendly.

Comprend tips:

  1. All sites should use SSL and a corporate site should use EV certificates to validate that they are the correct sender.

  2. Avoid common mobile design mistakes like blocked JavaScript, CSS and images files. Google has provided a list of common mistakes to use as a checklist for your mobile site.

  3. Prioritise your pages and make your most important content mobile-friendly as soon as possible. This is a temporary solution, but will prevent drastic drops in mobile traffic until you can make your entire site responsive.

Jaan Orvet, International Head of Creative

Jaan Orvet, International Head of Creative at Comprend

Google’s new pecking order shows how quickly the times have changed; both in terms of how users access information and what/how information is deemed relevant. One of Google’s most important measurements has always been if a site contains relevant information against a user’s query. However, now information must not only be relevant, but also suitable for the device used.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. As of now, Google’s changes will only affect SERPs, not paid search. But, this could change in the future so we recommend being ahead of the curve.

  2. Use this time to take stock of which of your sites are necessary. Close down the unloved or unused ones. This will free up time and resources to look after the ones that deliver the greatest value to your audiences.

 It’s impossible to predict how much of a shakeup Google’s new algorithm will cause. Some organisations will notice no change, and some will see their sites drop out of the search rankings altogether. The impact will naturally depend on just how much mobile traffic you receive.

The good news for Web Managers is that these changes provide an unassailable piece of ammunition towards building a business case for the adoption of responsive design.

Further reading about responsive design

Insight from 3 specialists on responsive design

Get your responsive website done right – 4 tips from the expert

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