Today is something of a watershed one in the world of search.
In what is being billed by the media (no doubt with its own search aspirations around the content, naturally) as Mobilegeddon, Google is shifting its rules on search to give increased priority to content on web sites that have also been made easy to use on a mobile phone screen.
By overhauling its mobile search algorithm, Google is effectively making it more difficult for content on sites that aren’t so mobile-friendly to be found. This may seem a good idea given the volume of content seen on mobile phones and other mobile devices continues to grow, but equally has been seen by some media observers as a fairly strongarm move that will create panic to make sites better for mobile use. Hence Mobilegeddon.
What does it mean for communications? Well the implications are fairly obvious. Search algorithms have been a guiding light in content planning for years, but such a swing towards mobile as a platform clearly puts a big stake in the ground. Communications planning should have been factoring in the rise of mobile for years, but this certainly forces mobile platforms and content engineered for mobile viewing up the agenda.
When will sites start feeling the effect? Well, today. Google did let the world know about this several months ago, so we did at least see Mobilegeddon coming. Here are six things communications teams should know though:
- The changes affect searches made on mobile devices, which feels appropriate
- Tablets are other hybrid devices aren’t affected. Just mobile phones
- Google is enabling brands to checking how mobile-friendly their sites are, using this tool
- Search algorithms typically take two or three days to ‘catch up’ once site or content changes have been made
- The changes impact only core Google searches, so not searches under the likes of Google News. But still, that’s a lot of searches
- The way sites are evaluated is binary: they’re either classified as mobile-friend or not. Which focuses the mind
As these changes take hold, expect more tips – and stumbling blocks – to emerge as the communications world gets to grips with it. For now though, some important changes to consider and will surely become more front of mind for marketers.
Particularly if you’re reading this post on a mobile phone.