There have been a lot of updates in the past year or two in regards to Google’s algorithm; Panda, Hummingbird and Mobilegeddon, just to name a few, and they didn’t stop there.
Google recently announced that they will be making a change to their smartphone user-agent for Googlebot in April 2016 to keep up with new emerging web technologies. From there, Google will continue to make the web more mobile friendly with a new search algorithm update coming in May 2016.
The smartphone user-agent update will begin to take effect April 18, 2016 which will allow Googlebots to better understand websites, especially with new emerging technologies.
The question is: what is a user-agent?
A user-agent is a software that is acting on behalf of a user, crawling and converting the website’s text and code into the beautiful website that you see as a user. This process is also known as rendering a display.
Google has stated that, after this update, their user-agent is going to render more like Chrome and less like Safari. So, how will this effect you and your website? Don’t worry; 99% of existing websites won’t be affected, according to Google. In my opinion, this seems more like a gear up for the upcoming algorithm update in May.
Google will forever be making changes to it’s search algorithm. Just look at Mobilegeddon; it changed the game, and started giving points to websites that were mobile or mobile-optimized. Now Google is attempting to make information available to anyone on any device. What does this mean? Websites that are mobile friendly are going to be winning the race in search engines compared to those that aren’t. If you have a website that isn’t mobile friendly, there’s still hope; if it has quality content for readers, you still have a chance at a good ranking on Google. With that aside, a mobile friendly website is worth the investment and should be high on your priority list.
Unsure of what you have? You can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Tester to check if your website is mobile friendly.
Stay tuned in with Element 74 for more information, and you can always visit the Webmaster Blog for up-to-date information on new releases and adjustments to search algorithms and more!