3 Major Google Trends of 2015

Mobile responsiveness

On April 21st, 2015, Google rolled out an algorithm change nicknamed by some as mobilegeddon, making mobile responsiveness a ranking factor in mobile searches. Sites that were not mobile-friendly were penalized in mobile searches, while desktop searches were unaffected by this change. Months after the rollout, industry experts found that this update had a significant impact. One study conducted by Duda, a mobile site developer, found that mobile-friendly sites saw an 11 percent increase in search rankings in mobile searches. Also, according to Moovweb, non-mobile sites only made up 20 percent of top rankings after this change. Another study from Searchmetrics found that these websites lost an average of .21 ranking positions. Because of this change, Comit Developers incorporates responsive design into every new website. Comit has also reached out to clients with older sites in order to make them work well on all devices.

SSL (HTTPS)

Google announced on August 6th, 2014 that site security would become ranking signal, as sites with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certification would receive a slight ranking boost. Sites with SSL certification feature HTTPS in their URLs instead of the more traditional HTTP. According to Google, this change was intended to help make the internet more secure for users. On December 17th, 2015, Google announced that their indexing system would look for HTTPS pages by default. While HTTPS may not be one of the biggest ranking factors, more sites in 2015 became SSL certified. BuiltWith noted that 6 percent of the top 10,000 websites incorporated HTTPS encryption, compared to 4.2 percent a year prior. This percentage will likely grow in 2016. In order to stay on top of current trends, Comit Developers now provides HTTPS encryption for all new websites.

Site Speed

Since 2010, site speed has been a ranking factor in Google searches. In 2015, site speed was an issue for website developers and digital marketers due to two major trends. One was mobilegeddon in April, giving mobile-friendly sites a boost in mobile searches. Colin Guidi of 3Q Digital noted that some mobile-friendly sites were still ranking lower after the change than non-mobile ones due to slower load times from heavier coding required for responsive designs.

Also, in February, Google began testing “slow labels” in mobile searches on listings for websites with slower load times. Another trend that affected speed was HTTPS encryption. As Moz pointed out in November of 2014, page encryption and establishing a secure connection can cause encrypted sites to become slower in some situations. Some of the easiest ways to keep site speeds fast would be to compress photos and limit the amount of photos and embedded videos on page. Also, Hubspot notes that allowing for browser caching, using compression on whole pages, and minimizing CSS and Javascript can speed up your website.