Internet Giants – like Facebook and Google – can change the fortunes of businesses with a tiny tweak of an algorithm.
It happened on April 21st when Google started prioritizing sites that were mobile-ready and pushing down those that we’re not.
For Google, it’s about getting better at mobile. For businesses, it could make it much more difficult for potential customers to find them – if their site isn’t mobile optimized. The switch will affect searches done on smartphones only, which sounds comforting, but shouldn’t be.
Portent tested 25,000 sites when the algorithm shift was announced and found that 40% of those sites failed to meet Google’s criteria for ‘mobile friendly.’ Among them, small-time outfits like The Department of Homeland Security.
Needless to say, this is going to put fear in the hearts of business owners who have been ignoring mobile everywhere. But, the search functionality now supports the trends: mobile is here and not going away. If your business refuses to adapt or is slow to, it might be.
Some good news and one reason not to run underground to your bunker quite yet: according to Portent, the algorithm is ‘real time,’ meaning, that once your site meets the criteria for ‘mobile friendly’, it can quickly regain its ranking.
Recode also reported that Google itself is trying to calm mass hysteria by reminding site owners that a range of criteria is considered in search result rankings. And the number one priority in rankings remains the intent of the search query. So, if your site has excellent content and someone goes looking for it, all hope isn’t completely lost if you’re not mobile friendly right this second.
Any time the digital sky starts raining down flaming meteorites on businesses, it’s time to take notice. For the 40% that aren’t up to ‘mobile friendly’ standards, Google’s change should be a call to action. Mobile is no longer a cool feature or a luxury – it’s a necessity.