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Google's New Algorithm: Is Your Website Prepared?

Google’s New Algorithm

Is Your Website Prepared?

The foundation of Google’s empire, as most people know, is its search algorithm–or more accurately, algorithms. Since its launch, Google has been tweaking and transforming its search ranking algorithm to provide better results for users. The algorithm has gone through numerous iterations over the years, and whenever it’s updated, a ripple effect of speculation spreads across the web, generating one particular question: “How will this affect my website?” Sometimes, an update won’t affect a given website too much, if at all, but other times an update can have a significant and lasting impact on a website’s search ranking if it isn’t altered accordingly.

WHAT HAPPENED?

First announced in late February 2015 and later implemented in late April, the algorithm update entailed two changes: mobile-friendly websites rank higher in mobile search results and search results feature more relevant apps. Both changes are affecting the web presences of companies throughout the spray foam industry, although the first change is perhaps the most significant.

WHAT Does It Mean?

Concerning the first change, Google’s search algorithm now analyses the mobile-friendliness of every page of a website. The analysis dictates the website’s overall mobile-friendliness rating, which factors into the website’s search ranking. In other words, if your website is mobile friendly, expect it to move up in mobile search results as it overtakes websites that aren’t.

So what is mobile-friendliness, exactly? In short, it’s the ease with which a smartphone or tablet user can use your website. More specifically, mobile-friendly websites are easy to navigate and read on smaller screens. Furthermore, mobile-friendly websites make content like images and videos easier to view.

With regard to the second change, the impact of the algorithm’s new partiality to mobile apps is hit-or-miss for businesses in the spray foam industry. If your company has an app, it’s simply good news that it will get more exposure for relevant searches. If your company doesn’t have an app, this algorithm change isn’t reason enough to start developing one, unless your company has considered releasing one already.

WHY Should I Care?

It’s Google; they basically run the web. So, any announcement they make that could remotely affect your website should grab your attention. After all, the vast majority of searches are done through Google. In fact, comScore posits a 64% market share for desktop searches, while StatCounter asserts an astounding 90% overall market share.

As for the specifics of these most recent changes, they’re relevant because they signify the future of the web: mobile. The new reality is that the majority of web searches are now done on smartphones and tablets: Google officially announced in May 2015 that mobile searches surpassed desktop searches, (they didn’t release any hard figures, however). In any case, web’s mobile trend isn’t reversing in the foreseeable future, so businesses with an online presence are keen to address it swiftly, or else risk forfeiting online exposure to competitors that do.

WHAT Should I Do?

If you’re uncertain whether or not you’re website is mobile-friendly, chances are it isn’t, but Google offers a tool to determine one way or the other (see sidebar). For websites that need work, it’s critical to start making serious commitments to improving your website’s mobile-friendliness. This may mean educating yourself and single-handedly implementing changes to your website, or in most cases, it may mean hiring a professional to do so. Either way, in design terms, your website should be responsive, which means it is equally accessible to mobile and desktop users (Spray Foam Magazine covered this in detail in the January/February 2014 Issue). Of course, it can be a hassle, not to mention an extra expense, to stay ahead of the web’s latest trends, but if you’re not at least keeping up with them, your website’s online presence will suffer. It’s really just the name of the game.