Google’s new update could affect your website’s ranking, is your business prepared?


Google are making changes this April, are you aware of the impact it could have on your business?

If you own a website then you’ll know how important it is to keep up to date with any changes that Google makes to the way it indexes web pages.

Google is constantly changing and updating the way it ranks websites in an effort to make search results ‘smarter’ and more relevant for its users. By keeping informed about these updates you can stay one step ahead of the game (and your competitors!) and keep your website ranking highly on Google and your business visible online.

In a recent announcement Google said that its latest change, due to come into effect on the April 21st 2015, will “significantly impact” mobile search results worldwide.

Google’s changes this April will only further emphasize the importance of having a mobile-friendly website.

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This post will help you to understand what the changes mean, how it could affect your business and what you can do about it.


So what’s changing?

Google is making a change to the way that it ranks websites in its search results.

Google uses an algorithm to rank web pages. The algorithm scans websites looking for particular ‘signals’ that it then uses to sort and rank them in its search results. There are over 200 signals in Google’s repertoire including things like quality and depth of content, geographic location, keywords, social activity, links, page load time, content length, usability, and many more.

Any alterations made to the algorithm can result in dramatic changes to the position of individual web pages in search results – these changes could be either positive or negative.

The most well-known algorithms are usually dubbed with names – some of the most famous include Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin and Pigeon.

Google recently announced that the latest version of its algorithm was due to be released on April 21st 2015.

The most important change that website owners should be aware of is the increased importance that will be given to mobile-friendly websites.

This update doesn’t come as too much of a surprise as Google had already started making similar changes last year when they launched mobile-friendly labelling in search results.

When searching on Google using your mobile phone you will notice that some of the results are marked as ‘mobile-friendly’, giving these results an advantage over those that aren’t.


Mobile-friendly websites- how are they different?

Did you know that the amount of people who browse the internet online using mobile devices is expected to overtake the number of people who browse using desktop or laptop computers very soon?

If you regularly browse the internet using your mobile or tablet then you’ve probably noticed that some websites can be very difficult to use on smaller screens. If you find yourself having to pan around the screen or zooming in and out of different areas then the website you’re browsing isn’t mobile-friendly.

Mobile-friendly websites usually have a ‘responsive’ design. Responsive websites are coded to automatically adapt the way they look to fit the screen of the device that they’re being used on, and in doing so they greatly improve the user’s experience. Responsive website designs are much better at converting mobile website traffic into sales. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly then you could be losing out on a lot of potential business.


How will the changes affect my business?

So how will the latest update to Google’s algorithm affect you? Unfortunately it’s difficult to say until the update has come into play.

However it’s safe to say that if your website has a mobile friendly design then any changes to your website’s search engine ranking are likely to be positive, whilst if your website is not mobile friendly you may suffer a drop in your rankings.

Web pages that have mobile-friendly designs are already being marked with a ‘mobile-friendly’ stamp of approval next to their listings in search results. This upcoming change in Google’s algorithm will further emphasise the importance of having a mobile-friendly website and give an even greater advantage to mobile-friendly websites.

If your website is not mobile-friendly then you may see a decrease in the amount of traffic to your website. This could be caused by a drop in your website’s ranking on search engines and also people choosing to click on competitors’ websites over yours if their website is marked as mobile-friendly but yours isn’t.

A decrease in traffic would likely then lead to a decrease in the number of leads and conversions that you gain from your website too.

If your website IS mobile-friendly then happy days – you may notice your listings on search engines moving further towards the top of the search results and see an increase in traffic to your website.


Other changes to note

The new algorithm update will also improve the ranking of mobile apps. If your business has its own Android phone app then make sure that it has been indexed by Google using App Indexing.

By indexing your app on Google you can connect pages on your website with content within your app.

The new algorithm will see apps ranking higher and more prominently in mobile search results.


What can I do to prepare for the changes?

The first thing you should do is find out whether or not your website is mobile friendly. If you don’t already know then use Google’s handy ‘mobile-friendly test’ tool. All you have to do is enter your website’s URL into to find out for free whether or not your website is mobile-friendly.

If it is, then great!

If not then it’s either time for a new website; or you may be able to get your current website re-coded to include a mobile-friendly version.

If your website isn’t responsive yet then now is a great time to take the plunge. The number of people browsing on devices like mobile phones and tablets is increasing all the time, if your website isn’t responsive then it is likely to quickly become outdated and ineffective. A responsive website is a fantastic investment for the future.

If your business has its own mobile phone app then make sure that you have indexed it using Google App Indexing.

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