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Google to rank mobile-friendly sites higher in search results

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Business owners are awaiting Tuesday’s Google search results, crossing their fingers that the tech giant’s new algorithm won’t affect their internet livelihood. The firm has updated its search algorithm to demote websites not deemed ‘mobile-friendly.’

Sites with text too small to read on a mobile device and those with links too close together are among the reasons why some websites will fall down on the ranking list. Websites that load slowly on mobile devices, as well as those not easily accessed by scrolling up and down, will also take a hit.

Consequently, those sites can expect to see a dramatic reduction in online visitors.

“Some sites are going to be in for a big surprise when they find a drastic change in the amount of people visiting them from mobile devices,” Itai Sadan, CEO of website-building service Duda, told Business Insider.

Microsoft and the European Union are among those sites likely to be negatively affected.

In a world where businesses fight to appear on the coveted first page of search results (often paying significant amounts of money to search engine optimization companies) the move is expected to make waves online.

In fact, some search engine ranking experts have called the potential fallout ‘Mobilegeddon.’

But the move shouldn’t come as a total shock. Google has been urging sites to cater to mobile devices for years, due to their Android OS business.

The tech giant announced its plans two months ago, creating a step-by-step guide to be used by websites wishing to remain on Google’s good side.

“This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on our search results,” Google said at the time.

But despite the warning, many say small businesses, many of which haven’t had the funding or need to launch mobile-friendly sites, will feel the hit.

“A lot of small sites haven’t really had a reason to be mobile friendly until now, and it’s not going to be easy for them to make the changes,” said Matt McGee, editor-in-chief for Search Engine Land.

Those wishing to check whether their site is deemed ‘mobile-friendly’ by Google can enter their web address here.

Google has experienced its fair share of backlash in the past, following similar shifts to its algorithm. Changes in 2011 and 2012, focused on weeding out misleading websites, were met with criticism from many site owners who claimed the move unfairly demoted them in search rankings.


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