We discuss Google's latest update and how brands are responding to the change.
For many online retailers appearing at the top of a Google search is paramount for their business and can be the difference between a good profit margin and a great one. As of the 21st of April brands’ online traffic could potentially suffer as Google’s latest algorithm was updated with what appears to be their biggest change to mobile SEO since 2011.
The aim of this change is to help users find search results formatted for their device, though many brands have failed to keep up with this shift in consumer search behaviour. There is no question that confidence in making purchases via smartphones has increased with 25% of mobile sales being completed through smartphones and 75% through tablets over the past three months. This compares with a split of 80% for tablets and 20% for smartphones a year earlier in Q4 2013/14. Consumer confidence is increasing in mobile purchases and more importantly it is changing rapidly.
As a result, Google has built an online test for brands and publishers to check whether their sites qualify as mobile-friendly. Developers also had the opportunity to prepare for this update with Google publishing their blog in February outlining the update. While Google themselves have said that half of all searches globally come from mobile, even major brands like Marks and Spencer (who initially failed the test) have had to react quickly to update their mobile SEO, though this comes down to M&S using separate URLs for its mobile and desktop sites, and failing to flag the relationship in the code. Similarly, The Daily Mail had never introduced a mobile-friendly front page and as a consequence has since changed to provide a mobile-friendly viewing.
Lukasz Zelezny, Head of SEO at uSwitch recently told Marketing Magazine that the changes would push brands to build a better experience for customers. Though it is surprising that it has taken brands some time to respond to shifting behaviour, it is organisations like Google who are paving the way and forcing companies to take these steps. Lukasz also stated that "It is very likely that, going forward, a responsive design will become a standard solution in business."
Whilst the majority of large companies offer a good mobile experience, we have seen that this change has brought about a forced movement for an overall better user experience for consumers. Organisations like M & S and The Daily Mail have made changes accordingly, however there are many SME’s that will either be prepared for this change or fall victim to ‘mobilegeddon’.
Jan Musa | Social Media & Marketing Manager
0203 301 9929 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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