Google update on the 21st of April: All you need to know

by Kristof Maletzke, 20.04.15



On the 21st of April, Google is changing its algorithm for the mobile search. In our article, you’ll find out why this update will have major consequences and what it means for ePages shops.

Just a few years ago, relatively few users were on the go using their mobile phone to search the internet, but the picture has changed completely. According to StatCounter, mobile phones accounted for 27 percent of all web page views in the UK in Q1 2015. And expectations are that this figure will continue to swing up over the next few years.

Nevertheless, the word about the mobile web has still not gotten around to all website operators and online merchants with many of them not having a mobile site optimised for small touch displays. In the worst case, they even rely on technologies like flash, which is not supported in any way by most mobile browsers meaning that those sites cannot even be viewed properly at all.

Update on 21 April: Google is driving the mobile web forward

Google has recognised the signs of the time and is doing all it can to improve the mobile web user experience. The search giant already took a key step in this direction a few months ago, showing search results that were optimised for mobile devices marked with an appropriate note during the mobile Google search. You therefore immediately see which pages are optimised for mobile phones in the search results and which ones you should perhaps avoid due to lack of optimisation. Google’s criteria for this include, amongst others, whether software not common for mobile devices like flash is not used or if the page’s text can be read without zooming.

Google will implement an update worldwide on the 21st of April that will bring about significantly greater changes. A quick explanation: the sequence in which Google search results are shown is based on a complex algorithm that includes over 200 criteria. Examples for these criteria are how often the search term appears on one page or how many other websites link to the site. In this way, Google aims to ensure that users always see the best results for their search term. The precise algorithm is top secret and is continually updated.

For the update on the 21st of April, the core focus is especially on the mobile web. For search requests that are started from a mobile device (excluding tablets), a special ranking criterion becomes particularly important: whether a site is optimised for mobile devices or not. Simply put: in the future, websites optimised for mobile devices will be ranked higher in the search results and those not optimised will be penalized and listed further below.

The update can have major consequences for website operators and online merchants: A downturn in visitors is to be feared if your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices.

What impact will the update have on ePages shops?

ePages shops are ready for the update – provided that the shop’s mobile view is activated on your site. Read more about that below in the section What do I have to do now as a retailer?

When the mobile view of your shop is activated, Google will recognise the key subpages of your shop as optimised.

During the last few weeks, we’ve also further improved the mobile view. It will soon be possible to edit the header section of the mobile view so you therefore have more influence on its appearance.

What do I have to do now as a retailer?

You should check whether the mobile view is activated in your shop. If you do not have this option, please contact your provider. You might need to choose another shop package.

How you check whether the mobile view is activated

  1. In the administration section, select Settings and then General settings in the main menu.
  2. Under Mobile view, select the option Optimised for mobile shop.
  3. Save.

Please note: Tablet users will always see the standard version of your website. If smartphone users deactivate the mobile view for websites in their browser, they will also see the standard version.

How can I check whether a site is optimised for mobile devices?

You want to check for yourself, if a particular subpage of your shop is optimised for mobile? Google provides a tool for this. Since mobile optimisation is tested for each single subpage of a website, only subpages can be tested with the tool. So when you enter the address of your website, the result only refers to the homepage and no further subpages.

Alternatively, you can also simply pick up a smartphone and conduct a Google search according to the following search term (please replace the address www.onlineshop.co.uk with your shop’s domain):

site:www.onlineshop.co.uk

You then see the subpages of your website that Google indexed. You’ll see that a subpage is optimised in the text ″Mobile-friendly″.

How can I view the mobile version of my shop?

When you want to see what your shop looks like on a mobile device, it is best to simply pick up a smartphone and open your shop in the browser. The benefit of this is that you can also understand the user experience – especially handling via touch display.

But a preview function is also available in the administration area of your shop that allows you to check how your shop is featured on standard smartphones. For this purpose, select the mobile phone symbol at top right in the green preview button.

About the author


is Communications Manager at ePages.

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