Retailers who wish to increase their search rankings must ensure their sites are mobile-friendly as Google rolls out a mobile-focused algorithm.
The update to the way Google ranks search results will take into account how mobile-friendly a website is.
This means Google will now favour sites that look good on smartphone screens, and penalize sites with content that is too wide for a phone screen and text and links that are too small.
Google updates its algorithm frequently, but this is considered to be its most significant change in years, with some dubbing it the "mobilegeddon".
The news comes as mobile shopping surges year on year. According to IMRG, 50% of traffic to retail sites came from smartphones and tablets between August and October 2014 and £9.3bn was the total estimated mobile spend during this time.
Steve Rivers, CEO of Intelligent Reach, experts in product level marketing, data quality & performance – with clients including House of Fraser commented: “Data from the Intelligent Reach platform shows that sales via mobile devices are booming, with mobile browsing exceeding traditional browsing across retail for the first time earlier this year; indicating changing behaviour of online shoppers. It’s for precisely this reason that Google’s updated its algorithm.
“Retailers must be aware of the switch and optimise their websites to accommodate mobile users. Unresponsive websites would have been losing sales for some time, but the algorithm change will now drive more shoppers away or, even worse, mean that websites won’t even appear on mobile searches – both situations which would lead to a significant loss of virtual footfall,” he added.
“Google’s algorithm change is a positive response to consumer needs, but as technology continues to evolve, retailers need to stay ahead of the curve and provide a seamless experience across all devices.”