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Google updates to PageRank algorithm

Google mentioned recently this month that it may soon penalize and reward sites based on their mobile site user experience. Currently, sites are penalized if the mobile version of their page does not load correctly or doesn’t load at all, but it does not actually critique the mobile page. It simply assesses whether the page loaded properly or not. As the article explains: “Google can currently look at the user interface and not just see specific font sizes but see how a user would see the fonts on different mobile devices. Google is also able to see how a user will see how a page scrolls on a mobile interface; are the buttons large enough to click on; is the interface confusing to mobile users?” Google explained that it wants to provide a better user experience to its users both on desktop and mobile platforms. According to its research, “61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site that they had trouble accessing from their phone. That includes sites that use fonts which are illegible on mobile, or sites where users have to zoom in or pan around excessively.”

Right now Google does not implement these features in its Page Rank algorithm, but if this changes as they have suggested it can greatly affect the mobile web market. Essentially, Google is incentivizing sites to improve their mobile sites or otherwise face the consequences in terms of a lower rank in queries. This is one of the many examples of Google tweaking their algorithm to not only include web traffic and popularity, but also the various features Google itself sees as important to websites. We can see the power that Google has in driving the market and changing the way websites are formatted. A large amount of web traffic to any site comes through Google and if updating the site will improve the number of hits, then webmasters will act accordingly. It is interesting to see how much influence Google has in the web design market and how much power they hold over the other members of the web network. This can potentially lead to more efficiency in the market and speed up progress in web development, but also leaves Google in a position that perhaps gives it too much power. As long as Google continues to dominate the search space with its superior experience, it will be able to affect the market in far reaching ways.


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October 2014