The purpose of this article is to provide information to automotive dealers about Google’s new indexing changes and the technology and opinions related to them. The article has links to all my research for you to expand in the topic.
It is safe to assume that by now we have all heard that Google rolled out a “mobile-friendly update” (1) on April, 21 2014. It is important to understand these changes as they are the beginning of the way our websites will be accessed by our customers. We are moving from desktops to mobile devices and the way Google works for mobile changed.
The update will begin to change how Google ranks and indexes website content for mobile searches. This is an update to force website owners to improve their websites so they are mobile compatible. You can no longer ignore mobile traffic. Period.
Google’s goal is to offer mobile friendly links on search results therefore improving customer experience on their search engine.
Moz (2) analyzed the changes in traffic globally (not just automotive industry) and they haven’t been very relevant. So far this update hasn’t been a big deal as you can see in their “7-day analysis” (3). But don’t think this is over, here is why:
- The algorithm change only affects mobile (smart phone only, no tablets!) searches, not desktop.
- Most companies that were already ranking well for high value keywords were already mobile friendly.
- The changes will take time to spread, re-index, and notice changes—if any.
On a side note and quoting Google (4) about content and the effects of the mobile changes: “The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.” Google will prioritize indexing of high quality useful content versus just the fact that the architecture of your site is mobile friendly. In my opinion this should be specially noted for long tail searches.
Google is looking to bring content parity (5) so the websites “provide the same content to both mobile and desktop visitors”. Your customers (and now Google!) “expect to be able to do anything on their devices that they can do on a desktop”. Quickly, we are breaking the myth that consumers will not perform certain tasks on a mobile device VS desktop, data shows the opposite, mobile devices are becoming the center of how we look for content and interact with products.
You can check if your website is mobile friendly by using this free tool provided by Google: Mobile friendly test(6).