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Of late, it has been observed that Google has special preference for a website that is “mobile friendly”. Interestingly, in keeping up with its preference, it is also ranking the mobile friendly websites higher in the search results. This way, the mobile friendly websites are enjoying greater visibility in the virtual world. However, in order to avail the benefit, several websites are compelling searchers to download an app that will allow them to view the content on the website, thereby making the website “mobile friendly”. So, in essence, these websites do not have a “mobile layout”. So, how are these websites reaping the benefits of Google’s latest updates?
Is content still Important?
In other words, you are being deceived into downloading an app so that the giant search engine gets an impression that the website is compatible with hand held devices. Few experts are of the opinion that this pattern, adopted by the giant search engine, may not go down well with majority of the webmasters. This is because all Google wants is to make sure that the website is compatible with mobile devices. Although the importance of great content has not diminished, this latest trend has led few marketers to believe that they can focus less on content and get away with it.
Experts like Gary Lllyes confirmed that the current trend is such that if you want your website to be ranked, all you have to do is make it mobile friendly, what content the mobile site is about makes no difference to Google. All it does is scrutinizes the desktop content. This is disadvantageous for the websites that take a lot of pain in developing a great website, which is mobile compatible as well as has great content. This is because the websites that are just compatible with mobile devices may just have this trait without having quality content but is being ranked higher only because it is mobile friendly. As such, experts are hoping that Google will very soon take into its stride this drawback so that all websites (and consequently their webmasters) are ranked according to a parameter that decides which websites are able to offer an excellent user experience.
Google’s mobile site ranking algorithm
Few are of the opinion that a “mobile only index” in Google’s latest update does make sense. This is because perhaps Google plans to index app content alongside deep links to screens but at the same time, it does not find sense in mixing it up with desktop algorithm that is not suitable enough to find a ranking place in desktop content.
While we are on this discussion, it is important to note Google’s consideration for desktop friendly websites. There are few inquisitive webmasters that had enquired Google that if their websites are not mobile friendly, will it impact their desktop rankings too? To this answer, Google replied with a big “No”. However, this does not mean that webmasters whose websites are not mobile friendly should relax. By all means, the websites ought to be compatible with hand held devices at least to a certain extent. By doing so, it can rank higher in the search results.
Geo location and Geo Targeting
Another very interesting aspect of latest Google updates that is doing rounds across the virtual world is geolocation. Regardless of whether you are using RIM Blackberry or Apple iPhone, geolocation will allow your friends to know where you are in real time. For this, you need to use apps.
Generally speaking, these apps allow users to locate individuals in 2 ways. Firstly, they will indicate your location to the other users and secondly, they will relate public places that are mostly searched (like restaurants, clubs, pubs, and so on) to your present location. So, how do these apps work? These days, you will find that smartphones are equipped with in-built chips that are GPS enabled. These chips make use of satellite data so that your exact location can be ascertained and calculated in accordance. And thereafter, you can seek help of Google Maps to clarify the location still further.
As far as Google and geolocation are concerned, most webmasters make use of Google Analytics and Adwords, when it comes to checking search results and volumes. In this context, it may be mentioned here that Google makes use of geo targeting so that it can offer better service to its visitors.
Desktop vs. mobile geo location
A survey was carried out wherein the ability of Google to locate individuals was tested. In other words, Google’s geo targeting abilities were tested. More than 100 people participated in the survey, and each one was asked to switch on their mobiles and enable their GPS service that was internally built. When the results came, it surprised everyone. Reports suggested that Google was able to locate individuals much better from a desktop device as compared to a mobile or handheld device. There are 4 prominent service providers in this field that help in geo locating. These include Foursquare, Loopt, Brightkite, and Gowalla.
Since smartphones have built-in chips that make use of satellite data to locate individuals, Google Maps are able to make use of the service to map locations. However, there are several instances, when GPS signals are weak or may not work when the apps carry on the task of geo locating from signals received from the cell towers. As a result, the exact position of the individual whose position wants to be assessed is easily found out and the location identified.
Another concept, known as Assisted GPS, is fast catching up these days. There are few geo location systems that make use of cell site triangulation alongside GPS. It has also been observed that when the user is outdoors, it is much easier to locate the individual as compared to locating a user who is indoors.
The apps that help in geo location services and in turn help Google Maps to map the location have become very popular, and they are being used across the length and breadth of the globe. As mentioned above, the 4 service providers are much sought after and ever since the wave of geo location and geo targeting apps have made inroads into the consumer market, these service providers have gained immense popularity. This makes one thing fairly clear – with each update that is released by Google, online marketers need to upgrade their game to keep up!