First Read

A first take on enterprise IT technology news and events.

A Cheer for Google's Higher Rankings for Mobile-Friendly Web Pages

Yes, the algorithm changes will make life difficult for many Website owners, but for smartphone and tablet-crazy consumers, I think that this is a long-awaited change for the better.

Google search, algorithms, mobile search, smartphones, tablets,

Web searching on the small screen of my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone is maddening enough compared to the searches I perform on the large, clear ViewSonic 24-inch-wide display that sits on my work desktop, but when I reach a Website on my phone that isn't built to display well on a mobile device, I want to scream.

With all the gazillions of smartphones and tablets being used out there by mobile users, you'd think that Website owners, including retailers, utility companies, banks and all the others, would want their customers and prospective customers to land on sites that would display easily, no matter what devices they are using.

Yet that is not the case. Still too often we all try to search for information on our devices and are stymied by Websites that show up without any corrections for tiny mobile screens, leaving users to swipe, expand and manipulate the sites so they can try to find what they were looking for.

That's just ridiculous in 2015, and thankfully, Google is doing something about it by again changing its search algorithm to give mobile-friendly Web pages higher rankings in search when users are accessing the information from mobile devices.

Under the new algorithm changes, which will take effect over the next week or so, Web pages that have not been specifically optimized for viewing on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will now receive a lower ranking on Google Search.

That cheering you hear out there in the world is me, lauding Google for giving all consumers and mobile users a reason to hope that such a change by one of the world's largest search providers will truly motivate and persuade Website operators to make their pages mobile-friendly sooner rather than later.

Yes, I know that many Website owners are being harshly impacted by these Google algorithm changes because they will potentially lose business as their search rankings drop and they miss opportunities for sales leads, actual transactions and customers. I can sympathize with them, but as a consumer and mobile user, there is nothing more frustrating to me in 2015 in the world of mobile search than finding a Web page but not being able to easily see its content because it is not optimized for my smartphone.

The new Google algorithm changes won't dismiss a Web page entirely if it isn't mobile-friendly, according to an earlier eWEEK report. A page could still end up being ranked highly simply by virtue of its content quality and relevancy. But mobile friendliness will be a big factor, and I applaud this move.

The changes only affect Google searches on mobile devices in all languages around the world—they don't apply to desktop or laptop searches or to entire Websites.

I know that could be rough for Website owners, but for users like you and me, all I can say is thanks, Google.