The biggest change in two years could see chaos in search rankings as mobile-friendly sites take the first spot due to the new algorithm change by Google.

A New Google Mobile Algorithm?

Google is changing their algorithm which will affect the search results performed through their search engine on mobile phones/devices.

The new change takes into account how mobile-friendly your website is. This means companies without a good mobile website will suffer, as searchers on mobile devices will see sites with good mobile experiences ranked higher than those with no mobile or poor mobile sites.

With the new algorithm change, having a website that is friendly to mobile browsers on smartphones and tablets will be key. Especially due to an increase in the number of users now browsing, engaging and purchasing on mobile devices which are a total of 81.6% in South Africa alone.

Google has made sure that the most relevant content continues to be served on the most relevant devices – and in the process, identifying and penalizing sites that cannot support a user-friendly experience!

The change is designed to help users find search results formatted for their device, Google announced. The company often makes tweaks to its algorithms and technology powering search but announces few. The fact that this algorithm change has been announced suggests Google expects the change to cause a big impact, potentially affecting traffic and revenue for a number of sites that heavily rely on search results and organic traffic.

Responsive websites are the right way to go, right?

The latest trend over the past few years has been to build a single “responsive” website, which responds to the device that it is viewed on and essentially renders itself correctly to the user regardless of the screen size (however there are certain limitations to feature phones and low-end devices). This means that the website is designed and developed once, responsively as opposed to having a website and a mobile site.

This typically makes sense and obviously, you get to focus on one site when it comes to your marketing efforts. But, you also need to take into account the experience that you are trying to you deliver to your audience. Google looks at a mobile view first. It is now indexing and ranking a website based on mobile.

We would say, look at what the data tells you. If your audience is only interacting on a desktop because of the industry Google won’t ignore that. The goal, the ultimate goal is to ensure that your site/content is solving the searches intent or question. If it is specific for desktop, then they will look at desktop first.

Google has not given a percentage of web searches that will be affected, but with the new algorithm we expected to see more companies making their traditional website “responsive”.

Google has provided a mobile-friendly test and several other tools to help sites and services adapt to the new mobile ranking.


If you want to see how mobile-friendly your website is, why not do a quick online check using this – Mobile-Friendly Test


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Having been established in 2005, in Cape Town, South Africa, Elemental is primarily focused on providing web development services and digital marketing campaigns.