23rd May 2016
Revisiting Google’s algorithm update, and an appreciation of nufc(.com)
Just over a year ago I wrote about the Google mobile friendly algorithm update (https://www.cargocreative.co.uk/blog/google-mobile-friendly-algorithm-update) The announcement gained a large amount of press for what appeared to be a relatively small, common sense update to promote sites which are "mobile friendly" on mobile devices.
In this post I discussed the site I probably visit most regularly: nufc.com, a site which hasn’t changed much since the year 2000, if you don’t believe this, check out the awesome waybackmachine: http://web.archive.org/web/20000816112945/http://www.nufc.com/ and compare that to the site now, the banner is a bit more polished, there is a drop down menu and they’ve made the screen wider by around 250 pixels, but for all intents and purposes, it looks like exactly the same site.
In contrast to this, in 2014 long running Newcastle United Fanzine The Mag ceased printing and moved its operations entirely online. The design is cleaner, new content is posted several times a day and most importantly for this discussion, it uses a responsive layout meaning its appearance adjusts based on the size of the device you are using.
Despite all of this, nufc.com still appears above The Mag when searching for “nufc” on a mobile device.
If we were to believe the hype around the announcement last year you would think a mobile friendly site would automatically rank above one which wasn’t, this one example demonstrates to me that Google still values quality content above everything else.
The Mag’s content isn’t as well written, titles are frustratingly click-baity and articles feel forced, as if they have a self imposed schedule of publishing half a dozen posts a day regardless of whether the circumstance requires it. Whereas nufc.com only update if there is something to write about. It sounds strange saying it about a website which only talks about a football team, but there is a level of trust attached with .com which is difficult to quantify.