In a move that further signals the remarkable growth and increasing importance of mobile devices,
Google has announced changes
to its search algorithms to prioritize apps.

Starting April 21, for all searches on mobile devices, Google will present search results that identify and prioritize mobile-friendly sites. That means those with mobile-friendly sites should rank higher in search results conducted from mobile devices. Further, if you wish, Google will also begin to index content on mobile apps that may not appear on your website. And to close the loop, Google will allow app developers to use mobile search results to guide users to either the website or the app (provided the app is installed on the mobile device, something Google will check), wherever you the content owner think they’ll have the best experience.

These are cool if not world-changing new features from Google, but they indicate clearly the rapid evolution of the mobile ecosystem, one where the quality of the displayed information is becoming nearly as important as the information itself. This means that mobile-friendly websites are important, but the future lies with apps that will become an increasingly seamless part of the search experience. Think about it. Google will now check (on Android devices) what apps you have installed, index the content of those apps, present this content in regular Google search results, and allow you to seamlessly view that content in the installed app.

If your website isn’t already mobile-friendly (and it should be just as a best practice), Google’s giving you a big incentive to do so by pushing you up in mobile search results.

And if you’re wondering about the value of apps for your products, consider how quickly they are moving from handy appendages to the mobile experience to becoming central to that experience. If your data makes sense on a mobile device (and it doesn’t always), it’s probably time to stop thinking and start coding!