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The aftermath of Google’s mobile crackdown

John Murray

Dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’, April 21st was expected to mark a significant change in the way Google searches conducted on smartphones were returned.

However, a few weeks on, it is claimed that little has changed.

The internet giant uses over 200 algorithms to rank websites according to  a search term’s relevance, with the most widely known of these called PageRank.

With handhelds accounting for almost 50% of web traffic, Google understood that a site’s ‘mobile friendliness’ needed to be taken into account when performing a search from a smartphone. In a statement issued by its webmaster team, Google said:

“As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, we want to make sure they can find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens.”

As well as taking account of whether a website is optimized for use on smartphones, Google has also changed the way URLs are displayed on handhelds. These pathways to a particular page have largely been ignored by site administrators, but are known to be influential in directing users to websites. Dubbed the ‘breadcrumb’ format, URLs that are well structured give hints about the content of the web page before users click on a link. Getting this right could make the difference in directing more traffic.

However, while widely expected to see some sites plummet in the page rankings, Mobilegeddon has reportedly not caused the stir that industry experts anticipated. Although some companies lost visibility and others gained, overall there doesn’t seem to have been a major impact for big name websites.

That said, anyone whose website isn’t optimised for use on a mobile can expect to see their rankings fade into obscurity. If your site is not handheld friendly, now is the time to make it so and, whilst you’re at it, take a look at the wording of your URLs to really drive traffic to your content.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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