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Doomsday Scenario

Google's 'mobilegeddon' hits tomorrow and it will be a disaster for many businesses

It pays to be prepared.

A MAJOR UPDATE to Google’s search rankings for mobile sites could slice traffic to the websites for thousands of businesses in Ireland.

From tomorrow, in a move which has been labelled “mobilegeddon” for many SMEs, the search giant’s algorithms will favour sites optimised for mobile devices and bump those with poorly-tweaked websites in its results. The changes won’t affect desktop sites.

Itai Sadan, the head of US-based site builders Duda, told Business Insider small businesses would probably be hit the hardest with the changes because they were the least likely to know about them.

“Google has always been about relevancy, and content is king – but that’s changing,” he said.

Yes, they’re saying content is still extremely important, but user experience is just as important. It’s not sufficient to have all the right content — if people come to your site and the content is there but it’s not readable, that’s not good.”

The change was first announced in February and the company has released a tool for testing how mobile-friendly sites are on elements like automatically correcting the size of pages to fit device screens and having large, easy-to-read text.

The tech company’s Googlebot will also declare sites mobile-friendly if they avoid software plug-ins like Flash that many devices don’t support.

Google, which the European Commission recently charged with abusing its power as the overwhelmingly dominant search engine, has about 92% of the total search market in Europe.

Almost half of all Google search traffic in the US comes from mobile devices.

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Not well connected

Meanwhile, a survey out today from IEDR, the company which manages Ireland’s .ie domain registry, revealed a large share of the country’s SMEs were poorly-equipped to cope with the changes – or make the most of the digital marketplace.

Of the two-thirds of the businesses that had websites, 54% used designs which weren’t suited to tablets and smartphones.

Only 9% of all SME sites were able to fully process sales online, while 68% were unable to take payments.

The company has launched the €150,000 OPTIMISE fund to help local enterprises to improve their websites and e-commerce offerings.

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