A few months back, Google announced plans to make “mobile-friendliness” a new part of its ranking algorithm. Since then, the search giant has employed a number of visible features such as adding a “Mobile-friendly” to sites that pass the test.
The biggest change—and potentially the most detrimental—is the change that’s set to arrive in Google’s search algorithm on Tuesday. That is, adding “mobile-friendliness” as a search ranking component.
Most would argue this change is advantageous for the mobile user.
For site owners who are unaware of the upcoming change, however, the impact could be significant. As a writer for Business Week argues, this change will hit small businesses first.
“I think the people who are at risk are those who don’t know about it,” Sadan says. To him, that mostly means small businesses.
“Come April 21, a lot of small businesses are going to be really surprised that the number of visitors to their websites has dropped significantly. This is going to affect millions of sites on the web,” he says.
Businesses that depend on people finding them through localized search — like, if someone typed “coffee shops in Sunnyside, Queens,” into Google on their phone — could see a decrease in foot traffic as a result of this update, Sadan says.
“Google has always been about relevancy, and content is king,” he says. “But that’s changing. Yes, they’re saying content is still extremely important, but user experience is just as important. It’s not sufficient to have all the right content — if people come to your site and the content is there but it’s not readable, that’s not good.”
While some could make the case that small businesses will feel the effect of a potential decrease in search rankings, as author also mentions, some big brands stand to face the impact as well. Some include “American Apparel, The Daily Mail, and Ryanair.”
If Google begins favoring “user experience” more heavily in future updates, I vote for sites without autoplaying video to receive a boost in rank. But that’s just my two cents.