Google has announced an important update to its search engine algorithms, which will impact all ecommerce retailers.
From April 21st 2015, Google will add a mobile-friendly factor to its search algorithm, to make sure that smartphone and tablet users receive results that are easily viewable on their devices.
When the update comes into force next month, mobile friendliness will increase in importance. Google will also start promoting more app content to mobile users, but only to consumers who have downloaded that app and are signed in.
The latest move is designed to make the search engine more effective for the world’s mobile fanatics. More than 1.2 billion people worldwide access the internet from mobile devices, and 58% of the U.S. population already own a smartphone.
Currently, spontaneity plays a major role in 8 out of 10 mobile commerce purchases, and enhancing Google results to provide device optimized content could see this figure rise even higher.
What does the latest Google update mean for ecommerce retailers?
Your website MUST be responsive for mobile shoppers, or your Google search engine ranking could be downgraded. This update is effectively stating that mobile customers are the most important, and therefore their needs will take priority in Google’s results.
Google views each website page-by-page, so it’s vital to ensure mobile friendliness across the site, rather than just optimizing the homepage. As soon as the new criteria is applied in April, the search engine will adopt it in real-time, so theoretically pages tailored to a mobile audience will see an immediate boost in performance.
In addition, ecommerce companies with their own app must make sure that you have implemented App Indexing, as only indexed applications will be included in Google’s new search algorithm.
What does mobile-friendly Google mean for online shoppers?
Of course, it’s not just ecommerce companies that will be impacted by the latest algorithm change; consumers will see noticeable changes in their search engine results, which will ultimately influence their online shopping journey.
The good news for retailers is that better targeted content boosts conversion rates. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on Google’s top link through your smartphone, only to be transferred to a page that is impossible to read on a small screen. Mobile users want to mimic their behavior on desktop devices, and expect the results to be just as satisfying.
Therefore retailers should see an increase on the number of sales made through search engine traffic, as shoppers are drawn into more informative, better displayed results.
A word of warning, however – this will not be the case if e-tailers fail to support a mobile-friendly layout with compelling language and high quality images.
Mobile commerce is being adopted at 8 times the rate internet usage spread in the 1990’s, showing the enormous potential a mobile-first strategy offers ecommerce retailers. The challenge now will be to optimize page content alongside layout in order to ensure there’s no reason for consumers to exit the page without purchasing.