Google is set to revamp its mobile search algorithm in a way which will less prominently display websites which are not optimised for use on smartphones.
The update, which will be introduced tomorrow (21 April), has been dubbed the “Mobilegeddon” by some commenters as it could bring into obscurity sites poorly equipped to be browsed on mobile devices.
The Google webmaster team issued a statement: "As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, we want to make sure they can find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens.
"Starting 21 April, we’ll use a web page's 'mobile-friendliness' as one of many factors to help rank searches done on mobile devices."
Furthermore, Google will pilot a scheme where it displays mobile web URLs more clearly in a ‘breadcrumbs’ format, displaying the pathway of their results. For example, for a limited number of US users, ‘en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google, will instead be displayed as ‘Wikipedia > wiki > Google”.
Google said: “Well-structured URLs offer users a quick hint about the page topic and how the page fits within the website.
“To help mobile searchers understand your website better when we show it in the mobile search results, today we’re updating the algorithms that display URLs in the search results to better reflect the names of websites, using the real-world name of the site instead of the domain name, and the URL structure of the sites in a breadcrumbs-like format.”
Kevin Dallas, chief product officer of Worldpay eCommerce, told The Drum: "This move by Google should send a message to companies whose websites are poorly configured for smartphone users that optimising for mobile is no longer a matter of choice.
“With the number of smartphone users only set to grow, businesses simply can’t afford to become invisible to mobile consumers. Few would argue that Google’s search rankings can make or break a business, and as of today organisations that don’t deliver a decent end-to-end mobile experience risk learning this the hard way.”
This comes after Google introduced the ‘Mobile Friendly’ tag to its search results informing smartphone browsers whether content is optimised for their display.