Last month, Google updated its search algorithm to favor mobile-responsive websites. The change comes as more consumers and Internet users are accessing the web through their phones. Google estimates that 51% of all web searches now occur on mobile devices, and as Google is the primary means by which users search for content on the web, a change to its algorithm is bound to make a large impact. This week, we bring you articles that review what the changes are and how they could affect different companies and countries.
As of the end of April, Google prioritizes mobile-friendly sites in its search results. Desirable site features include easy-to-click links, larger text, and responsive design. It’s estimated that 38% of enterprises with websites will not meet the criteria. Additionally, an even larger percentage of consumers will be affected, as 89% of smartphone owners search the web via Google.
Although Google’s update, the largest in three years, encourages businesses to create user-friendly sites for consumers, the tech giant’s own agenda is also advanced through the algorithm change. Because Google is used by a majority of Internet users, a change to Google Search shapes the future of the web. Ultimately, more mobile-friendly sites mean more Google users, and more Google users mean more ad revenue.
Although some see Google as they would a public utility – a resource that should be unbiased with equal opportunity – it is still a private company operating in a capitalistic marketplace. The company has received criticism in the EU for placing Google Shopping results ahead of other sites. Google dominates in Europe, where it holds 90% of the search market share.
The French senate passed a bill in April that would require all search engines, including Google, to disclose their search algorithms. Google responded to the French bill by saying that to do so would be relinquishing its intellectual property, which allows the company to compete in the market. If the bill were to become law, the penalty for noncompliance would be 10% of global profits.