google-facebook-algorithm-changes

Two online giants have recently or will soon update algorithms, and it’s likely your website and Facebook page will feel the waves these changes produce.

Google gives gold star to mobile-friendly sites

Late in February, Google announced that it will increase its emphasis on mobile-friendliness in its search engine ranking criteria. (Google began awarding qualifying sites a mobile-friendly badge in November 2014.) Here’s the exact quote from the announcement: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

The fact that Google took the step of placing a date on the release of the change indicates just how much those without mobile-friendly sites may see their rankings decline after the April 21 date. The good news is, Google reps have since clarified that the algorithms run in real-time, and most web developers interpret this to mean than once you’ve made the conversion to a mobile-friendly page, as soon as Google crawls and indexes the page again, it will be labeled as mobile friendly. If your site’s pages are not updated regularly, they will be crawled less frequently, so the sooner you make the move to mobile, the better chance your site has of being ready for April 21. The algorithm awards the label to each page in your site, so working toward making all pages mobile friendly will benefit your website the most.

Is your site mobile friendly? Take the test from Google to find out.

Gone are the days when having a mobile-friendly website was a bonus, putting you ahead of your competition. With this latest push from Google, you can expect businesses to scramble to meet the new standard. No mobile site? Although your site will not drop off the face of the earth on April 21, you can expect your search engine rankings to decline significantly. New customers will have a hard time finding you online and current customers will start to see you as antiquated.

Our recommendation is that if you’re ready to go mobile, choose a responsive website design. We’ve written about the advantages of this type of website platform in the past. You’ll get one site design that works on mobile and desktops. Google itself has written that responsive designs get the endorsement from them over dedicated mobile websites.

Facebook downgrades posts from business pages

Facebook reminded its business users that it’s now a publicly traded company with shareholders to please when it announced back in November that starting in January, it would be limiting the number of “promotional” posts from Pages users like on their News Feeds. Said Facebook: “We’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.”

Facebook based the decision on survey results which indicated that the content users saw as too promotional often came from Pages they like, not ads. The number of ads served by Facebook is controlled more strictly than posts were, so this does make sense—although it’s not great news for those businesses relying on free Facebook features to promote themselves. If you want to be sure your Facebook marketing is getting seen, ads are the way to go.

Facebook still states Pages are an important part of its business strategy, designed to “bring a business’s story to life.” It reports it is exploring ways to customize Pages based on the business’s industry, among other improvements. A ton of mobile traffic still visits Facebook Pages every year, so don’t abandon ship. People count on your Page to give them business hours and gain a sense of how you interact with your customers. Looking for tips for posting on your business Page? Here’s Facebook’s guide.

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