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Google’s Mobile Search Moves In New Direction

Over the last year, Google has been moving away from its minimalist design and taking a mobile-friendly-first approach to search optimization. The change is a necessary one. According to Google’s promotional materials, the majority of search queries now come from mobile devices. With phones and iPads now running the show, people are five times more likely to navigate away from a website if it isn’t mobile friendly. The numbers also show that mobile users tend to abandon sites that take longer than three seconds to load.

Punishment For Pop-Ups

Part of Google’s now infamous “Mobilegeddon” upgrade penalizes websites for using distracting pop-ups. So what qualifies as a distracting pop-up?

– A pop-up that immediately covers a page’s main content and prompts the user to navigate to a different page.

– Stand alone pop-ups that have to be dismissed before continuing to the main content.

– Intrusive stand-alone interstitial pop-ups: Formatting the pop-up to match the rest of the page and placing it above the main content.

When deciding how to incorporate pop-ups into your website, ask yourself, “Would this annoy me if I was trying to read the content that I specifically searched for?” If the answer’s yes, Google’s answer is probably no, and their algorithm will be out looking to punish you for it.

Taking A Page From Facebook 

Google has just implemented Facebook-style search suggestions. The goal is to accurately predict what the user wants based off of their search history and what’s popular in the user’s geographical area. According to Shashi Thakur, VP of Engineering at Google: “Your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world.” Users can also tap a ‘follow’ button to add topics that they’re interested in into the feed, so the more the user searches with Google, the more accurate the suggestions become.

Other Aspects Affecting Mobile Rankings

With the majority of searches now done on iOS and Android devices, it’s more important than ever to optimize for mobile site performance. Your website must be responsive, meaning it displays well across all devices. Your site’s rankings will suffer if it takes longer than three seconds to load and not all mobile devices load and display content as well as others. If you’re using separate URLs for desktop and mobile, make sure you don’t have duplicate content that might confuse Google’s crawlers, as this will lower your search rankings as well.

Google’s Search Console has a mobile usability report that points out compatibility problems on a page-by-page basis. You should utilize it while developing your site and continue to use it to ensure it stays optimized for mobile devices.

Search Console helps scan for the following mobile usability issues.

– Flash Free: Mobile devices don’t use flash; neither should the mobile-ready version of your site.

– Lets you know if your viewport isn’t configured correctly. The viewport meta tag helps browsers scale pages to suit a specific device.

– Avoid too small of font size – Text can be displayed too small on mobile devices, forcing the user to pinch and expand the screen to make the page readable.

– Over-crowded touch elements – Without proper spacing touch elements can be frustratingly hard to tap.

– Pop-up feedback – Evaluates for pop-up formatting that isn’t user-friendly.

At 1 Source Media Group, all sites are developed with Responsive Design to ensure that users can automatically view the site version that fits their individual device. Call us today at (702) 840-5000 for more information.

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