Google’s got some serious changes coming to its SEO algorithm next week. Mobile-friendly websites will be more important than ever for business searchability and there are real fears that a Google Mobile- pocalypse is almost here. In February 2015, Google announced an update to their search algorithm that uses mobile-friendliness as an organic ranking signal. As a result, from 21 April 2015, mobile-friendly websites will rank higher in Google’s mobile search results and now thousands of website owners are concerned that their site is not optimized for mobile users. According to Google, “this change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on our search results.” Andy Betts, a global content marketing strategist with 15+ years experience wrote, “Google has encouraged website owners to take into account mobile users for a while now, hinting that they would be prioritized, but until recently it has been possible for websites to perform well without worrying too much about mobile optimization. That will quickly change. Now site owners who have not taken steps to ensure that their sites are mobile-ready can expect to have their mobile rankings hit hard. For businesses receiving steady customers from Internet searches, this can result in a major drop in income.” Noreen McCaffrey, the Head of Marketing at a Mobile Advertising company Somo says, “While some brands think apps alone are enough to tick the ‘mobile’ box in terms of best mobile user experience, Google doesn’t. As a result, these companies are about to see their mobile traffic declining.” McCaffrey says, “according to the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool, the following major brands are not considered mobile-friendly: Versace, Next, American Apparel, Daily Mail, RyanAir, Channel 4, & Windows Phone (to name just a few). Several of these brands do have apps and/or mobile sites, however, they still risk dropped rankings as Google does not recognise them as mobile-friendly.” It is hard to believe, but even The Security Service (M15) and the official website of The British Monarchy all fail to pass the mobile-friendly test. This list is only a small sample of the companies that will be affected by Google’s upcoming algorithmic change. With all this in mind it’s time to ask yourself if your own site is ready?
Here are some steps you can take to see if your site is mobile-friendly:
1. Search on Google for your company name using a mobile device. If the ‘mobile’ or ‘mobile-friendly’ label shows up at the beginning of your result, as it does in the screenshot below, then you are safe!
2. Still not sure if your site is sufficiently optomised? If no, then enter your URL into Google’s mobile-friendly online test here. This is an example of what you’ll see if your site it is mobile-friendly:
If you don’t see the ‘mobile’ or ‘mobile-friendly’ next to your result, you still have some time to get up to speed before it is too late. Get in touch with us at email@example.com for assistance and advice.
Other helpful tips:
1. If you can’t beat them, join them: Did you know that there are 1.5 billion internet users worldwide and that 80 percent of Internet users own a smartphone? These numbers show us that the growing trend of mobile search should give us the final push we need to join the mobile-friendly band wagon.
2. Capitalize on the mobile marketplace: Mobile now comprises more than one fifth of the e-commerce market, making mobile-friendly changes will not only help companies successfully adapt, but will also enable them to capitalize on the ever-growing mobile marketplace.3. Build your mobile-friendly site For those who do not yet have a mobile-friendly site build your mobile (m.domain.com) or your responsive site ASAP. Steff Preyer, SEO Account Director at The Media Image says, “For those who don’t yet have a mobile-friendly site, get started on optimizing your site for mobile today. Google recommends choosing a responsive site design as the industry best practice; however, you can also employ a dynamic serving design or a separate mobile site if that suits your business model better.” This update may be the another subtle push for brands to invest further towards a more responsive design and away from mobile specific sites. We do not know what google has planned after this update, but responsive sites are ‘best practices’ so we could expect further mobile updates that could favour more responsive sites. We already know that there are a number of unquestionable SEO benefits of having a responsive designed website over those that switch between a mobile and normal site. Pete Brooke-Sumner, SA MD at The Media Image, says “As it stands a separate mobile website (m.Mobile) or a responsive site will both pass the new mobile-friendly Google test and will save your search ranking, but where to from there? We are not exactly sure. What we do know is that Google has made it very clear that they care greatly about content as well as user experience. This may be the first subtle push for brands to start seriously looking into responsive website design. We know that there are a number of unquestionable SEO benefits of having a responsive designed website over those that switch between a mobile and normal site. Plus, responsive design usually has better bounce rates across devices for one and, in general, provides a better user experience.”
Stressed about the Mobile-pocalypse? Don’t be.
There are 3 quick steps we can perform to help you: 1) Conduct a mobile SEO audit, to identify mobile usability issues and optimise the mobile-user experience, including crawl errors and page speed issues. 2) Assess your mobile web search visibility & traffic behaviour, assessing how mobile visitors engage with your site, which pages they land on, and the mobile search queries that your site is ranking for. 3) Perform a mobile, web search competitor analysis and monitor your performance over time. If you would like us to assist with any of the above tasks, please let us know and we would be happy to help.