Put your mobile-friendly website on the back burner? With Google’s latest update, you may need to think again.
On May 12 2016, Google released an updated version of its mobile-friendly algorithm as part of plans to ensure users receive the best, most relevant answers to their search queries, regardless of the device they use.
The new algorithm increases the effect of the mobile-friendly ranking signal to help users find relevant pages on their phone or tablet. If you have already implemented a mobile-friendly website, you will not be impacted by this update. However, if you haven’t, Google recommends reviewing and improving your existing site to boost its mobile rankings.
Take a look at our Creative Director, Andrew Blenkinsop’s blog post about creating a mobile-friendly website that works for both your users and Google.
Haven’t seen any changes yet? Remember, the algorithm works on a page-by-page basis, so it can take time for Google to assess your site. As a result, it may take a few weeks for the impact to become visible.
This wasn’t the only change for Google this week though — users also spotted redesigned search engine results pages (SERPs) too.
The changes have seen Google increase the width of the main search results column from 500 pixels to 600 pixels and reduce the right-hand sidebar from 65 pixels to 60 pixels. This could mean good news for sites, as the new width could move the search results higher on the SERPs.
Brands will also have extra characters to play with in their page titles. The new width has added an extra 10 characters to the previous 60 limit, bringing the total to 70 characters before Google will truncate it. In addition, meta descriptions have been increased by between 16 and 20 characters, giving you more space to pack in that all-important information for your savvy SEO.
Also, the widths of feature snippets and local maps have all increased too.
So, should you start creating content to fit Google’s new SERP layout immediately?
While the changes have been spotted across the search engine’s international domains, including .uk, .ca, .au and .in, Google may still be testing the designs. While the roll out looks too large to be the company’s usual 1% testing, we recommend waiting until it’s known if the changes are permanent before extending your page titles and meta descriptions.