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Google's algorithm change favouring mobile-friendly websites goes into effect tomorrow

Published:  20 April, 2015

Google is set to change its search algorithm this week and it could pose some new challenges for wine and spirit brands, as well as retailers, that do not have mobile-friendly websites.

The changes, which are reported to go into effect tomorrow April 21, are set to affect search results that are conducted on all smartphones and tablets.

The mobile search results page will affect the order in which websites are ranked and favour those that have more mobile-friendly websites with features including having larger text for easier reading, easy to click links that can be clicked on with the use of a finger and sites that resize depending on the device that is being used.

Almost 60% of online traffic is now generated through mobile devices and consumer spending through the use of mobile devices is expected to hit £53 billion by 2024.

Google initially announced it would be making changes to the algorithm in February giving companies and brands time to ensure their sites are mobile-friendly and adaptable to mobile devices.  

This change is significant in that Google is no longer basing its rankings on content but it is putting an emphasis on the growing importance of user experience as well.

The wine industry which has been slower to adopt technology compared to other industries may be caught of guard. Come the end of the week, some brands which have yet to invest in mobile-friendly sites and smaller business owners who can't necessarily afford it may see traffic decrease if they don't have a mobile-friendly website available, which can hurt businesses in the long run.

According to a recent Barclays study conduct by Conlumion by the end of 2014, it was estimated that 61% of adults owned smartphones, compared to just 14% in 2009.  By 2019 almost 75% of adults are forecasted to own a smartphone. With the expected increase in mobile traffic it is not surprising that Google wants to ensure positive user experiences based on the results of the rankings.

Worryingly the research also found that 70% of 221 retailers polled did not currently offer a mobile website or a mobile app for consumers.