For some time mobile and tablet use has been skyrocketing. In fact last year (2014) we saw the use of non-desktop devices (Tablets, Mobile Phones, peacocks, etc.) out number PC’s online. At this point mobile and desktop use are virtually deadlocked. If mobile devices haven’t this very second beaten out desktops, they surely will by end of year.
Google’s seen these trends and has responded. For some time they’ve already been testing out various new presentations, tags, etc. to help make the experience of searching and selecting appropriate results better and easier for users on mobile devices. For example, Barry Schwartz reported back in February over on SearchEngineLand that he had spotted Google testing a new “SLOW” tag within mobile search results pages (SERPs). Although this latest update doesn’t yet fully include this new “slow” tag – many SEOs who read between the lines have known for many months that Google would implement some kind of system to weight mobile friendly-sites.
Google Mobile Update
Google is always looking to connect it’s users with the most relevant results possible – while also providing a great user experience. As the web has evolved, so has their role in helping to push technology forward using this as a guiding principal. Google has always continued to provide an amazing experience to searchers. Their results continue to be accurate, relevant, timely, and only seem to be getting better.
In continuing this trend – they’ve analyzed the device landscape and have decided to more greatly split up search.
Google has started to show you different results based on your:
- Search History
- Social Network
Google Mobile Search – SHORT TERM IMPACT
Google publicly declared their intention to modify mobile search results, showing more mobile-friendly sites higher up and demoting less mobile-friendly sites.Some websites that created sometime ago, that aren’t mobile friendly – seem to be unaffected at this point with virtually no change in search results (on both mobile and conventional desktop searches).
One important point to consider right away is that site speed, more than ever, is very important. After great content, the biggest impact you can have when considering all factors is increasing your website’s speed – which will have an impact on your search results across both mobile and desktop.
Google Mobile Search – LONG TERM IMPACT
Google’s products and their agenda have become an integral part of how they rank websites.No longer are you evaluated solely on the merit of your content, but on the design of your site.If in the past they evaluated things like load times, conversion rates, time on site, etc. – now they’re evaluating design (at least it appears that way based on how they’re evaluating CSS and per the imagery above – which was ripped straight from Google Webmaster Tools’ blog). Responsive design trends have led to (sometimes) more easily view-able content across an array of devices, but many responsive sites cater to the lowest common denominator and actually lead to poorer conversion rates and results for clients.
Finally, in addition to essentially evaluating sites on design we’re seeing the intersection of Google’s Search and Google’s phone OS. Apps are now a large part of the search results being provided. It’s a helpful way to get to content, but ultimately might lead to a dangerous techno mono-culture where Google knows all, and pushes all – and because we as Digital Marketers know Google is the biggest game in town – we leap to satisfy their demands.