Many Internet marketers remember February 2011 very clearly. It was when
Google rolled out its Panda update, which instantly changed the way
websites were ranked by the Internet search engine giant’s algorithm.
Will Googles latest update – that rolled out starting on April 21 –
cause the same amount of angst and teeth-gnashing? Possibly.
Google is finally acknowledging that most people are accessing the web
via their mobile devices – such as their phones, tablets and new
iWatches – rather than on old-school laptops or (gasp!) PCs. It’s new
algorithm, which doesn’t yet have a deceptively cute animal name the way
Panda and Penguin did, is expected to radically change the way marketers
search results by being more mobile-friendly.
A recent survey by the consulting group gShift found that a majority of
marketers expect Google’s new algorithm to change their site’s page
rankings. And about two-thirds of the online marketers polled said they
already have taken steps to make their websites more mobile-friendly in
anticipation of the update’s roll out.
The Rise of Mobile Web Access
It’s a testament to how quickly technologies can improve that the
majority of web users now use mobile devices to access their favorite
web pages and apps. Increased bandwidth, exponential expansion of memory
and data processing, and near-universal WiFi has made mobile the way to
go for most Internet users.
Only a few years ago – perhaps not coincidentally when Google was
rolling out its Panda update – it was unthinkable for most people to
stream their favorite TV shows or play multi-player games from their
phones while on the go. But today, it’s as common as having a cup of
coffee in the morning or chatting about “Game of Thrones” over the water
Who the Update Will Effect
About a third of website owners polled by gShift said they get between
11% and 50% of their traffic from mobile devices, and that’s probably on
the low site. Another study conducted by the mobile commerce platform
Branding Brand found that 43% of all traffic to major retailers comes
from smart phones and tablets.
If you have taken steps to make your web page more mobile-friendly in
recent months, you’re not alone. An estimated 68% of marketers surveyed
by gShift said they have made the move to mobile-centric web pages.
And it makes perfect sense. Digital marketers understand how important
it is to provide page visitors with websites that are optimized for the
devices they are using to land on them. Having a well-defined mobile
strategy today is as important as SEO and link-building were prior to
Panda and Penguin: It was simply something that you had to do in order
to be successful. Not doing it was unthinkable.
Top Secret Algorithm Update
While Google, as usual, is remaining tight-lipped about what its new
algorithm will look like, there are some clues if you know where to
look. For example, in March Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s
Webmaster Trends team, hinted that the new update will have a more
profound impact on search results than either of the previous “Big Two”
While Panda weeded out websites with poor quality content and Penguin,
which came in 2012, penalized sites that used backlinks and other
artificial means to boost rankings, the latest Google algorithm update
is anticipated to value pages that are most optimized for mobile users.
So if you haven’t already converted your web pages so that they are
mobile-friendly, there isn’t much time left. You don’t want to wake up
to discover that your top-ranking web pages are now nowhere to be found.