Recent data illustrates the importance of mobile-friendly sites following Google’s mobile search algorithm change. Traffic to webpages that are deemed unfriendly to mobile devices by Google (e.g. unresponsive, poorly formatted to screen size, and having unreadable text) fell as much as 10% since the changes were enacted in April of this year, according to a study by Adobe. Although the data did not break out which industries were most affected by the new algorithm, the significant drop in mobile visitor traffic to webpages overall underscores the importance of a mobile-first strategy for publishers.
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Publishers should heed two key lessons from the algorithm change:
- Publishers must update their mobile websites to favour Google’s criteria. Google controlled more than 90% of the mobile search market in June 2015, according to Net Market Share. Additionally, searches on mobile already outnumber desktop searches in 10 countries globally, including the US, Google reported during its second quarter earnings call last week. As a result, a 10% dip in mobile traffic on Google is much more significant to publishers than a similar drop on smaller mobile search engines.
- Google’s guidelines should remind publishers of the importance of the mobile user experience. Already, many publishers are seeing a huge share of their traffic coming from mobile. However, as the results following Google’s algorithm change illustrate, many publishers have yet to fully implement a mobile-friendly design. Going forward, these publishers should emphasise mobile-friendly user interfaces and ad experiences to ensure a strong overall mobile user experience.
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