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Google’s Mobile Algorithm Puts Customers First [#SESMiami]

The Ritz-Carlton’s customer service model is a pyramid, with consumer expectations at the base, requests in the middle, and delights at the top. Google runs its customer service model in much the same way, according to an SES Miami keynote from Maile Ohye, developer programs tech lead for Google. It’s because of this pyramid model that Google plans to prioritize mobile-friendly pages on April 21.

Users have grown to expect mobile-friendly websites, and for Google, meeting consumer expectations is the first step toward delighting them, which will ultimately transform them into Google brand ambassadors.

“[The pyramid] brings something [customers] didn’t know they wanted but was fantastic. Then, those people become brand ambassadors,” Ohye said.


Pain points associated with slow loading mobile pages have been an industry-wide problem for years. A mobile website can take seven seconds to load. Meanwhile, three-quarters of people will abandon a page after five seconds, and 46 percent won’t return. The move to prioritize mobile-friendly pages means that Google is finally actively seeking to close the gap between consumer expectation and mobile reality. And while Google’s move to prioritize mobile-friendly pages means that some advertisers may struggle to adapt, the ultimate goals are satisfied mobile users and stronger advertising.

“This is a pretty big change,” Ohye said. “For us to detect if a page is mobile-friendly, we need to be able to crawl it – and not just crawl the page, but all the resources used for rendering the page and seeing all the page content.”

To ease the transition, Ohye recommends that advertisers build a site specifically for mobile rather than attempt to transfer the desktop versions of their sites. She also recommends that advertisers check usability, measure everything, and adopt multiple online personas aimed to appeal to several different target customers.

For Ohye, understanding the expectations of a broad audience is more important now than ever before, since the Internet has changed our expectations for information speed, and now the average person’s attention span is just eight seconds.

“In everything you do – your social channels, your mobile site – you’ve got eight seconds to entertain [consumers], to inform them, to somehow reach and touch them,” Ohye said.

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