Monday, May 30

Google and Its Website Ranking Algorithm Update: Making the Web Friendlier For Mobile

WebSite Ranking Algorithm Updates 

Almost every one of us opens google daily with a query to find answers, sometimes it could be as simple as finding a gym nearby, and sometimes looking answers for how to boost your sales. What we aim for is to find relevant answers irrespective of the device we use, whether it be desktop, laptop, tablet or mobiles. There was a time when websites were packed with junk keywords, which had no relation to the content on the website, just to draw more visitors to the website and rank higher. Gradually, as the google algorithm updated, the google bot became more brainy and started recognizing such spammers and making the search more user-friendly. With each update in google algorithm, the need to revise our website with the current trends arises. Here is a brief of Google Algorithms to know the direction of water flowing and making changes accordingly.
As most of the searches we make are on our mobile/tablets, this year in the wake of May, Google has rolled out an update to mobile search results that upsurges the effect of the ranking signal to help us find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly, after all,what disappoints us more than a website-page which doesn’t open on our handy smartphones.
Last year, on April 21, 2015, Google rolled out a mobile-friendly update globally in all languages. This algorithm boosted the ranking of mobile-friendly pages individually while mobile/tab surfing which constitutes almost 81% of total web surfing. Users were able to effortlessly reach high-quality and relevant results where a) text was readable without tapping or zooming, b) tap targets were spaced appropriately, and c) the page avoided unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.

Source: Webmaster Google Blog 1

What does this mean for your website?
The question arises, how to make your site fit for this new google update.
An expert from Fusio India SEO team, explains that think like you are performing the search, so what will you like to see for results… a site that is properly optimized with short loading time while you check it on your mobile and no faulty redirects or unplayable videos. Thus this algorithm is very helpful for the users and enhances their experience, so if your site is optimized according to the standards, then the algorithm would become a boon to your business as it would not only help your site to reach higher ranks and avoid penalties from google but will also attract visitors to become your clients.
Google recommends business owners to build a mobile–friendly website for their businesses. As the world is changing with time and technology, smartphone users are much-much more than desktop users. To serve your site to a greater audience, and to make your online presence effective, a mobile-friendly responsive website is a must.
Google recommends that keeping following points in mind could help you rank higher with their current algorithm:
  1. Optimal rendering and indexing of pages so that google bot can access JavaScript, CSS and image files in your site [“robot.txt” is very important].
  2. Avoid using unplayable content, like flash videos which are not supported by mobile devices, instead, go for HTML-5 videos or embed videos, so that user experience is not compromised.
  3. Check for faulty redirects and smartphone crawl errors
  4. Use responsive web design to give the user a smooth experience over ranges of devices.
  5. Avoid using interstitial's.
  6. Promote your app by using HTML/inline banners or images or by implementing app-indexing instead of interstitial's.
  7. Remove irrelevant links from your site.
  8. Make your mobile site render in one second. Check for issues that slow down your page loading speed and optimize the website for mobiles.
  9. Avoid using font size so small that visitors are forced to pinch and zoom, thus reducing quality website experience to the users.
  10. Check placing buttons and other touch elements too close to each other that it becomes quite a task for the user to tap using fingers.
  11. Define your view-port correctly.

In last years, we have seen many updates from google which have affected the ranking of the websites on search engine tremendously. Some of the noticeable ones are listed below:

Google Mobile-Friendly Update
Google Hummingbird
In recent years, there has been a boom of smartphones and tablets. Google updated its search algorithm being in line with current trends and search relevance. The Google Hummingbird update released around August 2013, was an effort by google to make search results more quirky. The smarter google bot started deciphering the meaning behind the search query and providing a to the point search result rather than considering the keywords and showing them in results.
Google Hummingbird considered more than 200 factors and a vaster knowledge base, for every search query made, making results more precise and pertinent to the users. This update affected the ranking for different sites tremendously. Mobile, tablets and web, all searches became more conversational, that means the voice assistants on various devices could make better searches.
The sites with diverse, rich and lengthy content in topic-appropriate language, integrated with visual elements and implementing schema microdata benefited a lot with this update.

Google Penguin Update:
In an effort to reduce web-spam, first introduced in April 2012, The Google Penguin algorithm, targeted and filtered websites and pages that use low-quality link schemes to rank high in Google SERPs.
With an emphasis on white-hat SEO methods, Penguin had immediately influenced the search results, providing better and more relevant search results, when it was launched in 2012.
This algorithm not only promoted websites with high-quality content but also enriched search results with better and appropriate search results, which were more helpful to the users, removing the websites which were spamdexing or employing Black Hat SEO, to gain visitors, thus worsening the experience for users.
The webmaster focusing on creating high-end quality content, employing white Hat SEO methods were successfully rewarded in the form of higher-placed search-engine results.
Search engine spamdexing or Black Hat SEO methods encompassed activities such as keyword stuffing, link spamming, the use of invisible text on web pages, plagiarizing of copyrighted content from high-ranking websites and more.

Google Panda Update
Google’s Panda Update is a search filter introduced in February 2011 meant to stop sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results. Panda is updated from time-to-time. When this happens, sites previously hit may escape if they’ve made the right changes. Panda may also catch sites that escaped before. A refresh also means “false positives” might get released.
The Google Panda updates specifically tweak the algorithm as part of Google's continual efforts to elevate high-quality sites and web pages to the top of the organic search results while lowering, or penalizing, the rank of lower-quality or "thin' websites and pages, particularly those sites that display a large amount of advertising without much in terms of high-quality content.
Google Pigeon Update
In a continuing effort to provide users search results that could be more of use, Google introduced Pigeon Update boosting site ranks for local businesses. Google already uses thousands of ranking signals and features including Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms etc., with this update it also included location and distance as a key part of its search strategy.
As per webmaster’s understanding, this update very well affected local listings and businesses but quite a few noticed a fall in their site ranking. With a mixed review from various sites, it proved itself quite beneficial to numerous local businesses and listings and users who got results that were more appropriate for them.
Google Payday Update
Googlesearch engine introduced a set of algorithm update and data refreshes, called Google Payday Update, which recognized and penalized those “spam-my” websites, operating search engine spam techniques [popularly known as spamdexing or Black Hat SEO], just to improve their ranking. Such low-quality websites escalated their rankings by using heavily trafficked search keyword queries.
Google Payday Update recognized and filtered out such websites, dwindling their rankings.
Google Pirate Update
Introduced in August 2012,Google’s Pirate Update was designed preventing sites to rank well in Google’s listings, if they had copyright infringement reports. Google’s DMCA system accounts sites with many copyright infringement reports. This smart filter not only registers such sites, but also impacts the previously escaped sites, & catches new sites that may have escaped getting caught before. Getting improved with periodical updations, it releases the sites that have made required improvements but were previously caught or “false-positives”
Google EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update
Google Top Heavy Update

To Summarize It All
Google continually updates its search engine bot, including, Google Mobile-Friendly Update, Google Hummingbird, Google Penguin Update, Google Panda Update, Google Pigeon Update, Google Payday Update, Google Pirate Update, Google EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update, Google Top Heavy Update, all with an objective to enrich user experience, keeping pace with the technology and user’s conducts.  If your website has good quality content, uses “White-Hat” or decent SEO practices and is responsive [mobile friendly or works without a horizontal bar on any device] you are good to go.
Hiring a good website development & SEO agency is always helpful, as they can help your website to keep pace with the current trends and check if your site is following all the suitable practices which help it rank higher organically lowering it spam index.

Disclaimer: “The opinions expressed and the stats and facts stated above by author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the employer or any other employee thereof. Though the author has tried to maintain exactitude the employer is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Author.”

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