Yorkshire: Get ready for Google update

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THE HEAD of Google in the UK and Ireland has urged Yorkshire’s small and medium-sized businesses to make sure they have mobile-friendly websites if they want to be prioritised in the search giant’s new rankings.

The Silicon Valley firm updates its algorithms today to keep pace with “profound” changes in consumer behaviour and has warned that the move will have “a significant impact” on results.

Eileen Naughton said: “We are following the consumer. They are living their lives digitally via mobile devices.

“Google and all the other provisioners of web services, including website owners, are running as fast as they can to keep up with the consumer.”

Google dominates the search market, handling nearly nine out of 10 of all queries in the UK, according to industry data, while an estimated 75 per cent of adults in this country own smartphones.

Ms Naughton said: “When you do a search query now on mobile a consumer expects a good mobile web experience.

“It’s not enough to have a good desktop experience.

“It’s really important you have a mobile-ready, mobile-friendly site.”

Last month Google launched Digital Garage in Leeds, the first of five workshops in a multi-million pound UK initiative.

Ms Naughton said: “We selected Leeds as our first city in the UK to try this. In some ways, it is an experiment, but in other ways it is a really firm commitment Google has made to having a presence across cities in the UK where there is a good concentration of SMEs and a strong economic environment and perhaps an underdeveloped capability in digital enablement of their businesses.”

The workshop was opened by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls last month and offers a range of free educational services to SMEs.