The Google mobile algorithm update – are you ready for it?

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Are you fully mobile optimised? Well you probably should be.

But just in case you needed any more convincing about whether to invest in a fully mobile optimised website, Google has probably just done it for you.

As announced earlier in the year, Google will this week change its search algorithm for mobile to favour sites that are “mobile friendly”, while penalising sites that fail to meet its criteria.

Experts in search engine optimisation have dubbed the shift “Mobilegeddon”, predicting that companies unprepared for the change will see their search rankings on mobile plummet.

As people rarely browse beyond the first page of Google’s search results, any change in search ranking could be hugely costly for businesses and the algorithm change is expected to sway where millions of people shop, eat, and find information worldwide.

According to experts, some of the companies expected to suffer include big brands such as Versace and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

In an ironic twist of fate, another company whose site fails to meet Google’s new mobile requirements is the EU, whose Europa website is not considered “mobile friendly”. Last week the EU brought formal antitrust charges against Google over its abuse of market position.

The algorithm change won’t affect search results on tablets or desktop computers. But as mobile now accounts for around half of all searches on Google, companies will notice the consequences.

Google regularly updates its search algorithms and any changes are keenly felt by businesses that fail to adapt to the new requirements.

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In addition to the above mobile search overhaul, there is the possibility that Google will also base future desktop search rankings on factual accuracy. A report, courtesy of NewScientist, surfaced on 28 February regarding Google’s future plans. The detailed essay Knowledge-Based Trust: Estimating the Trustworthiness of Web Sources proposes that websites could eventually be ranked based on the quality of facts, rather than links.

While the internet is a great source of information we also know it’s full of complete nonsense too. We’ve all seen or read something online and thought “that’s so not true” and fought with friends over the accuracy of the “fact”. Thankfully Google may soon be able to help us tell the truth from the lies.

But one thing is certainly true: mobile optimisation is no longer something companies can afford to ignore.

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