What Small Businesses Need to Know About Google’s Algorithm Update

Date: April 08, 2015

The rollout could have have a wide-reaching effect on Web traffic—especially for those businesses that don't have a mobile-optimized site.

Google will be updating its mobile algorithm in a move that will likely affect small business’ website traffic starting April 21. 

The search engine’s rankings will now include a website’s level of mobile-friendliness. While it’s unclear as to exactly what that will entail, it does seem like it will usher in a big change that could hurt small businesses. (In fact, many are dubbing April 21 “Mobilegeddon.”)

On Google’s blog, which announced the update February 26, it said, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

In short, businesses that have sites optimized for mobile devices will rank better in mobile search results. On the flip side, though, that means sites not optimized could rank worse and not get as many visitors.

But unlike other updates, as Search Engine Journal points out, Google has released information ahead of time to allow businesses to prepare. Here are some details that small businesses need to consider: 

  • It may take some time for the update to fully roll out. Your website’s traffic could be affected starting April 21, or it could take days or even weeks. 
  • Sites will most likely be determined as mobile-friendly or not—there’s no in-between. You can, however, check to see if your site meets Google’s standards
  • If your site isn’t mobile-friendly right now, Google has a list of common website mistakes. It also has a helpful guide to mobile-friendly sites.
  • It’s unclear if the rollout will affect rankings for searches by desktop computers, but Moz reports, as best it knows, that this won’t be the case. This may mean that your website will be ranked differently depending on what sort of device people access it from. 
  • Don’t worry about a few kinks hurting your whole operation: Your entire website likely won’t be demoted rank-wise just because a few pages aren’t mobile-friendly.

For more information about this rollout, check out Search Engine Journal’s guide on how it will affect your business, what (if anything) to do, when to do it by and how much it could all cost. 

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