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Google Guidelines - October 2015 Mobile Edition

     
5:55 pm on Nov 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Jenstar has broken down the October 2015 Search Quality Rater’s Guide quite nicely, pointing out changes and additions.

Huge new emphasis on mobile everything. And I found the Needs Met section interesting as well:

The Needs Met Rating is brand new to the guidelines, and on a basic level, it is almost like looking at it from a Panda perspective. This is one of the new ratings for website owners to use to determine whether or not a site is “quality” or not.

Needs Met refers to raters focusing on the mobile searcher’s needs and thinking about “how helpful and satisfying the result is for the mobile user?”


[thesempost.com...]
10:52 am on Nov 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Interesting and informative, certainly, but the further focus on Google's smartphone preoccupation is disquieting, and I really do wonder whether isn't so much following user behaviour as trying to lead it into a marketplace where their own OS and products are more dominant.

Google also stresses that smartphones should make tasks easy, not problematic.


This sounds reasonable enough, but really it is not. What are "tasks"? If you want to read a lengthy article, a smartphone isn't the right tool, and making the screen even remotely big enough to make that task "easy" pretty much prohibits anyone from getting one in their pocket.

There are many other web-based tasks for which using a smartphone should be problematic. If you want to compare more than a couple of products you can't keep them all on the same screen, and the problem of having to display the information in multiple small snippets is inherent in the device, NOT in the user or the website. I can't see everything I want to see or understand everything I want to understand in a few seconds on a small screen, even if the behemoth tells me that this is our ultimate destination.

The content itself can't be divorced from the target user either. Sure, there may be hundreds of thousands of twenty-somethings wanting to look at a small screen in the pub rather than talk to each other, but my corporate clients still use a desktop in their office or a laptop on the train.

I have no problem at all with anyone developing search tools or assessing site or page authority in different ways for different platforms, but this reads as if an academic article is going to lose its authority to a page with big buttons and two bullet points, regardless of platform.

I don't personally think that having apps that target pet food advertiements at pet owners is what the pet owners want: it is what the people who sell pet food want, and what Google wants to sell to the people who sell pet food. This is not a gravy train: we are being led to the slaughterhouse by the nose.
8:34 pm on Nov 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Entering data may be cumbersome
This isn’t much of a surprise and why Google Chrome and other browsers offer auto-complete for forms. Even said, there are still mobile sites that still offer a very poor form user experience to their visitors.


I have a Samsung Tablet with KitKat on it. Perfectly usable device. Using Stock Browser(millions of them out there) to search for something throws in autocomplete on Goog..com own site ======= MOOT, as far as UX goes. All over the place, flying out, swooshing make keyboard dribble.

Start with that, then we should address MOBILE issues.

my 2c
10:21 pm on Nov 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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and I really do wonder whether isn't so much following user behaviour as trying to lead it

I don't think there's any debate about the rapid and continuing increase of mobile usage in pretty much all online industries. I even see it on sites where you'd expect mobile use to be low.

Definitely happened faster than I'd have predicted. No question it will continue.
8:19 am on Nov 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I don't think there's any debate about the rapid and continuing increase of mobile usage in pretty much all online industries.


I'm not disputing that, or saying we don't need to do anything about it: my own site was mobile-friendly long before Google started using the term. What I don't see, however, is any significant decline in desktop use. These latest guidelines strongly imply that unless a site satisfies mobile criteria, it will lose ranking and authority on all platforms, and that is a direction that is very consistent with Google's business plan, but may not be suitable for all consumers, webmasters, or businesses.

I also agree, however, that the trend of increasing mobile use will continue, and technology as well as web-design will develop with it, whatever Google does or doesn't do.

A principal point in the debate, I think, is that the phone is a different instrument, and is used in a different way from a desktop (often by different people, including those who have never owned a PC). We're not talking about something that replaces the desktop, but something that can be used - not always well - for most of its functions. The fact that my phone can be used as a torch doesn't make it a good torch, and the fact that some of my business comes from mobile users doesn't make them good customers. Favouring the traffic that brings me those customers at the expense of all others suits Google, not me.

The whole question of computer use and direction is still open, and I think trying to shoe-horn every website into a mobile interface is as ill-conceived as Microsoft's idea to bring a mobile-facing OS to the desktop. If the guidelines were merley advisory, or if Google was not such a dominant force in shaping webmaster behaviour, I would be less concerned, but as it is they signal a clear intention by a powerful force to take active steps to shape the evolution of computer use, and their motivation is their own profit, not the greater public good. Children in classrooms and research academics in ivory towers (as well as nearly every corporate workplace from plastic toy maufacturers to international cyber-security) use desktops, not phones.
9:15 am on Nov 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yeah if they were to penalize a site on non mobile searches for not being mobile friendly, that would be damaging to the web. Hopefully it doesn't happen.

I wonder of the problem will resolve itself before long as interfaces evolve and mobile becomes less useless for real work.
2:32 am on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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These latest guidelines strongly imply that unless a site satisfies mobile criteria, it will lose ranking and authority on all platforms,

Some people may infer that, but (IMHO) it's a stretch to say that Google is implying it.

Mobile is growing, and mobile search is growing. It makes sense for Google's quality raters to judge results for mobile queries by "mobile-friendly" criteria, and it makes sense for Google to tell those quality raters what kinds of things to look for.
4:07 am on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I haven't yet seen the guidelines, but what this suggests to me is that Google is preparing a Panda for mobile. The guidelines for the human evaluators are heuristics that will lead to building seed sets. Not clear from previous comments Google has made, whether mobile evaluations would be integrated into the main index, or whether they would be a separate mobile index... and how various algo factors would be triggered.

Very possibly, factors could depend on the device that's doing the searching and where it's located. I can even imagine, if Google could connect mobile devices with corresponding desktop machines, that it might try to develop a way of sensing attribution chains.

System

8:41 pm on Nov 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

redhat

 
 


The following message was cut out to new thread by engine. New thread at: google/4778730.htm [webmasterworld.com]
1:00 pm on Nov 20, 2015 (utc 0)
 

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