5 Ways to Protect your Site From Latest Google Algorithm Update

June 1, 2016

Mid-May 2016 Google released its latest algorithm update to boost mobile friendly websites in mobile search results. This update is nowhere near as big as the Mobilegeddon of April 2015, however it is rumoured to be an extension of the original update, offering higher rank to those websites that have implemented the original requirements to mobile friendliness. This article takes a look into the recent update and offers some tips and tricks to make sure your website doesn't get hit by the mobile friendly Google updates.

Mobile Updates

The first major mobile algorithm update happened in April 2015 and the goal of this update was to make mobile friendly results a priority in search ranking on mobile devices. This update encouraged businesses worldwide to updates their websites to a responsive, mobile-friendly website. This year's mobile algorithm update is rumoured to increase the effect of the original update, rewarding websites that adhere to the mobile friendly guidelines and penalising those websites that don't. This update will also roll out over time, it will not instantly impact all websites.

Criteria for Mobile-Friendliness

The following criteria are some of the main features of mobile-friendliness you should monitor on your website to ensure they are performing at the standard required by Google.

Fast Page Load Speed

This is the biggy. More and more page speed is becoming a key factor in mobile friendliness rank. In fact, if a page takes more than 4 seconds to load, it drastically increases the abandonment rate of that page. You can test your page speed insights with this tool from Google Developers and this will offer some specific recommendations on how to increase your page speed. You can also use this tool, GTMetrix, that will give further details.Chances are you have old images on your website that have not been optimized for the mobile web. These images will be huge when they load on the website and will cause the site speed to be considerably slower. Some other popular issues are render-blocking Javascript and CSS in above the fold content.Once you have fixed any existing page speed issues, you should put in place a process to optimize resources moving forward, including images.

Avoidance of Software like Flash

There are multiple reasons why Flash is becoming irrelevant in web design but most importantly it is due to the fact that many devices are incompatible with Flash nowadays and the usability of Flash is poor. Flash is also not fully readable by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo which means they cannot understand the content. This means Flash is less likely to show up in search results because the search engines do not understand it.

Readable Text without Zoom

When it comes to user experience, the algorithm update is looking for signals that users will be able to read the text on the website without have to zoom into the text. If you have a responsive website, chances are your website will adapt to screen size however it is worth checking that users don't have to zoom into menu items and so on.

Clickable CTA Buttons with one touch

In addition to readable text, a mobile friendly website has CTA buttons which are  easily clickable with one touch guiding mobile users towards their goal quickly. Some of the better mobile websites will subtly offer a multitude of different CTAs so that different types of visitors can get to their goal within as fewer steps as possible.

Fit to Screen to Eliminate Scrolling

The final piece of criteria that will help increase your rank for mobile friendliness is to eliminate scrolling on the pages of your website. Mobile pages are not designed to carry endless amounts of information and users typically like to read less and get to the information they are looking for faster. For this particular factor, you should aim to assess the top pages on your website to see if they scroll far on mobile. If they do, are there opportunities to offer CTAs that guide users to the information further down the page they are looking for?

If you address each factor in the above criteria, your website shouldn't see an impact from the mobile algorithm update, and, if anything, it should see an increase in mobile rank.

Are you continuing to optimize your website for mobile? Have you seen an impact since this last update? Tell us more over on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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