Google gets tough on Websites that aren't Mobile Friendly
12 Apr 2015
On April 21, Google is changing the algorithm for its mobile search that will affect how websites are ranked in its mobile search results. Websites that Google consider optimised for mobile performance will place higher in mobile search rankings. This will mean that websites previously ranked well in search results could lose their prominent positions if they are not optimized for mobile devices.
This isn't new. Google have been warning they will do this for a long time.
"This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” - Finding more mobile-friendly search results [Google]
Some findings from the ExactTarget’s 2014 State of Marketing report include: [Forbes]
- 80% of marketers who use mobile believe it does (or will) increase ROI
- 30% of marketers use location-based technology as part of their marketing strategy
- 47% have a mobile app
If you have been putting off updating your websites to make it mobile friendly, then NOW is the time to get those changes made. By not converting your website to being mobile-friendly, you can allow a mobile-optimized second-tier competitor to get the jump on you, and consequently inherit your sales.
There are a few ways to make your website mobile-friendly, by using a responsive design (preferable), mobile app or a separate mobile site. However, having a separate mobile site brings up the issue of duplicate content & being penalized by search engines, and link-building to two separate sites can be time consuming.
Try these tests to assess if your website is mobile-friendly, or what issues need to be fixed. If you still have questions, try Google Developers Mobile-Friendly Websites section.
- Test if your website is mobile-friendly
Enter your website address into the Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Check if your website works efficiently on the Mobile Web
Go to PageSpeed Insights and enter the webpage to be tested.
How to rectify problems that Google finds
If the Mobile-Friendly Test found that you have work to do on your site, Google offers suggestions from the results on that page. If you used a CMS (content management system), if you contracted someone to build the website for you or if you built the website yourself, on the right hand side of the page it gives you options how to address the problems.
Or you can contact TOLRAnet Digital for an obligation free consultation.
Testing your websites searchability
If you have authority to check your website using Google's Webmaster Tools, you can test how searchable your website will be on mobile devices.
Search for your website on your mobile device
On mobile phones Google has been tagging websites that are mobile-friendly, so this is a good way to check if Google is recognizing your website as mobile-friendly. On your mobile device, do a search for your website & see if your website has a "Mobile-friendly" label.
After the 21st of April, it is a good idea to monitor where your website sits in mobile search result rankings before the update and compare it to its position after the update, you should do this for a couple of months at least post-update. Also, aside from checking your website's search results on mobile devices, you should also continue to monitor it on desktops. Google has advised that if a website isn't mobile-friendly and drops in mobile search rankings, it may also drop in desktop rankings.
After the necessary changes have been made to your website, you should test it repeatedly on a variety of smartphones, tablets, desktops, and is working across all platforms.
If you've put off optimizing your site, we strongly encourage you to make the move now. After April 21, you could be left dealing with a significant drop in your rankings and traffic. Recovering from this will be more difficult than taking preventative steps now!
Having trouble financing the new rebuild?
Websites can be expensive depending on the size & complexity of them. Often they are in outdated software or have features that can't adapt to being mobile. So a lot of modifications & restructuring needs to be done to make it compatible. Or, you could have only just had your website rebuilt, it cost you a lot of money, only to have to have it rebuilt again.
All is not lost. There are different sources of funding available. The are Grants available, or there is Crowdfunding. Crowdfunding has had huge successes in helping business grow & prosper. Which makes that an excellent source to look into for financing your mobile-friendly web build. Contact us for a no obligation consultation on crowdfunding your project!
Web Producer, Creative Director, Content Creator & Distributor at clearFusion Digital, & specializes in helping businesses plan & grow their website.