Algorithm updates you may not know about…

17 Rebecca D'Cunha


As our regular readers will already know, Gravytrain’s Digital Marketing Director Helene Hall regularly writes articles for the online marketing website Fourth Source. In the past Helene’s articles have discussed some of the most prominent Google algorithm updates and how you can adapt your digital marketing strategies accordingly, however in her recent article she decided to do something a little different. As with some of her previous blog posts, the subject does centre on Google algorithm updates, however this may be one you haven’t heard about.

Every now and again Google quietly alters their algorithm and waits to see whether anyone has noticed. Sometimes they even outright deny that they have changed anything, but the truth is they are tweaking their algorithm on a regular basis. This is why in Helene’s most recent article she attempts to “peel back Google’s ranking algorithm just a little” to understand a new update that has quietly entered the digital marketing world.

Google algorithm changes focus on mobile friendliness

In her article Helene writes: “We can see that Google is continuing to build and develop its algorithm, always leaning strongly towards the end user and presenting the best site for the query. However the way in which Google determines the “best” site for the query, is evolving at quite a pace, looking at: user experience, mobile friendly sites, engagement signals, trust, deception and security.” One change that we have recently seen is Google altering their algorithm in order to ensure that sites are mobile friendly.

Stop redirecting smartphone users to the homepage

At the moment some webmasters are struggling to keep up with the popularity of mobile devices, especially if their websites haven’t been updated recently. This means that they may start receiving alerts in Google Webmaster Tools that look something like this:

Image of Google Message

Previously you may have just skimmed over this message, however now that Google has updated their algorithm it’s something you need to pay attention to. Helene explains: “If you do not have a mobile responsive site it would be worth checking your analytical data to see whether you are being affected. Google will be cautious if they see you are redirecting mobile users to pages which they believe may not answer their specific queries i.e. redirecting all mobile queries to the homepage, a good example of this is when a user types in “holiday homes in Brighton” and sees in the SERPS the Brighton page, once clicked through the user is redirected back to the homepage having to navigate again to the Brighton page.”

Check alerts in GWT to stay up-to-date

In order to solve this issue Helene suggests regularly checking for alerts in GWT, however she goes on to add that the most important part of a webmaster’s job going forward is to protect themselves against Google algorithm changes. She says: “In my opinion and through personal experience it’s vital to keep on top of your technical SEO and website issues. The role of SEO has developed over the last few years to encompass user experience, conversion optimisation and web development. I believe Google will continue to make tweaks to their algorithm and will in turn will push the SEO role into a truly holistic one.”

To find out more information about Google’s algorithm and how to protect your website in the future read Helene’s article in full on Fourth Source.