I received an email this week from a friend who runs a website business telling me about changes Google are introducing from 21st April. It’s drawn to me the viral nature of this update and I thought I would do a post on the changes Google have introduced over the last 4 years as they have impacted websites appearing in their searches.panda-505163_1280

The biggest two changes prior to this new one were the Panda and Penguin updates that really did  impact many websites.

These two updates were changes to the way Google calculates the importance of a website. They call these calculations algorithms and are what they use to determine the search results you see when you put in a keyword in the search box of your browser.

Panda was first in 2011 and was there to penalise low quality sites  and return quality sites to the top of thesearches. However, it didn’t work initially as it pushed lower scraper sites rankings higher  than original content sites. It has had several amendments since the first appearance of the change to try to sort out the anomalies. Google has since published the 23 points it advises a website should do or avoid that will help the website owner (or webmaster) to count as high ranking site!

penguin-56101_1280Then in 2014 came the Penguin change which changed the algorithm where it penalised those who were using black-hat SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques to artificially increase a websites ranking with links they manipulate to point to the website.

Google are often changing the way they provide relevant searches for people – last year saw a change that helped local business. Known as the Pigeon update – though smaller it was designed to provide better results for the local businesses by combining conventional local terms and colloquial equivalent.

Now this new change – its aimed at websites that do not handle being mobile friendly. The reason for the change appears to be figures from google on how people are search and where they are doing this. There is plenty of evidence that more and more searches are done via the mobile world.

They are saying this change will impact more sites that the Penguin and Panda changes.

It’s not known what level of impact this will cause but Google have indicated it will be more powerful than Penguin and Panda  which saw 12% and 4% of websites impacted.

What does this mean for websites? Well the best thing to do is check whether your site is mobile friendly. Many older sites may well be written in HTML and are not design to be responsive to the tool people use to do their researches.

Here’s Google own test tool for you to check:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

There are some tools online that you can use to check whether your site is mobile friendly

http://validator.w3.org/mobile/

This website allows you to test on particular devices e.g. iPad, Google Nexus, iPhone:

http://mobiletest.me/

As yet there could be more aspects to check and change to ensure you are still getting visits and not slipping down the rankings.

It’s name, well at time publishing no code name has emerged.

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