Google's 'Mobile-Friendly' Ambition Can Hurt SMBs

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 21, 2015

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Google will soon be of benefit only to websites that are friendly to mobile. The search engine is reportedly adjusting its algorithm to boost the rankings for sites that meet its criteria for mobile display.

Consequently, websites that don’t fit the description will be demoted in Google’s search results on smartphones while those meeting the criteria will be more likely to appear at the top of the rankings – a move that can translate into more visitors and money for businesses.

In other words, websites that comes in large text, easy-to-click links, and that fits to whatever screen they are viewing on - will be ranked higher in Google search.

At present, about 60 percent of online traffic now comes from mobile and Google wants users to have a good experience whenever they click on a mobile link. Although Google’s search has capitulated some of its traffic to referral sites such as Facebook and Amazon, among others, it’s continues to be the search giant. “Mobilegeddon,” the term coined for the recent changes, speaks volumes about its web footprints.

Not still aware

The company announced its plans way back in February, offering webmasters nearly two months to make the changes necessary to keep their sites mobile search friendly. Despite this, experts believe, a lot of businesses will suffer as they may be even be aware of such a change.

Even if  large enterprises are likely to meet Google’s mobile standard, the new plan threatens to hurt millions of small businesses that haven’t had the money or incentive to adapt their sites for smartphones.

“Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices,” said Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda to Business Insider. Many will see the number of visitors to their websites dropping significantly.

Issues remain

One of the most important considerations for Google search has always been whether a site contains the most pertinent information through a search request. Experts note that users often miss out on the most valuable information on their smartphones.

It is possible that a person might not even bother to look at sites that take a long time to open or difficult to read on mobile devices, Gartner analyst Whit Andrews said adding that “Availability is part of relevancy. A lot of people aren’t going to think something is relevant if they can’t get it to appear on their iPhone.”

Here, it needs to be mentioned that Google has faced issues over past changes to its search formula. Two of the bigger revisions, done in 2011 and 2012, focused on an attempt to weed out misleading websites and other digital junk. Although that sounds reasonable, many websites still complained that Google’s changes unfairly demoted them in the rankings, making their content more difficult to find. This time, the company should roll out the new plan, while exercising greater caution, believe experts.