Google’s Mobile Friendly Update (Yes, Another One)

Culture Google’s Mobile Friendly Update (Yes, Another One)

Friends that Just Click

That’s right, you read it correctly; Google are making an update to their search algorithm in a renewed bid to make their service more efficient for mobile users, or so they’d like us to believe. Over the decades, the search engine has taken numerous steps to ensure that user experience rests at the centre of their service; their search algorithms now focus on keyword-rich content rather than invisible link structures, their crawlers measure how responsive your site is to mobile browsers, they even let you play Pac Man on Google maps at one point. Quirky PR initiatives aside, the important thing to note is that as of November 1st, their mobile search algorithm will change again. We’re not too worried though as it doesn’t seem as big a deal this time around – at least no one has invented an overly sensationalised hashtag about it just yet.

Partners in Search

So what exactly will Google’s latest mobile update do? Specifically, it targets websites that encourage users to download an app in place of visiting their mobile site. Don’t worry, you’re still allowed to publicise your app on your website, Google just stipulate that if you use a banner ad that covers the majority of the content on the landing page, your site will be downgraded in mobile searches. Still a bit confused? Here’s a ridiculous working example to illustrate:

Let’s say, for example, that you’re passionate about the novelty carpet industry (and let’s face it – who isn’t?). You navigate to your favourite novelty carpet site – let’s call it – in search of some new carpets. What you see instead of product listings is a full page banner ad telling you to download their new app and make purchases through that. Now, in Google’s eight eyes (poor reference to the term “spider”), this is considered a bad user experience.

This is because, Google assume, searchers looking for novelty carpets are looking to browse products and make purchases online. They’re not, from Google’s perspective, searching for an app to download and store on their mobile device. The ‘mobile-friendly’ move however, also has somewhat of a clear tactical strategy. If more people are going directly to apps to make purchases and browse online, they’re then going to be circumventing the need for Google’s search services, which doesn’t only decrease the value of things like the AdWords programme, but also limits the amount of data their analysts are able to collate.

Search Party

So what can you do to stay in Google’s good books? Naturally, if you don’t have an app to download, the update shouldn’t affect your site too much. If you do, however, remember that by keeping banner adverts to Google’s limitations, and not obscuring too great a proportion of your landing page content, you should be able to pass under the watchful eyes of their organic search crawlers. Alternatively, if you’re still keen to drive app installs, perhaps it’s time to consider another form of marketing altogether? Utilising social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in conjunction with email marketing campaigns, for example, has proven to be a very effective method of driving downloads. Give us a shout today to learn more about finding your app a place on people’s devices, or ensuring that your site is compatible with Google’s mobile search parameters.

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