For years mobile device usage has been on the rise and mobile usability as been a factor in Google’e search algorithm. Websites that are optimized for mobile devices ranked higher than their non-optimized counterparts. Until now, that ranking factor has been both limited and ambiguous. Today (April 21st) that will all change.
Until now, Google hasn’t been entirely clear which factors it considers when calculating mobile ranking. Because of this, many business owners have avoided optimizing their website for mobile devices.
Websites that aren’t responsive lead to a poor experience and Google now is wise to recognize this will reflect badly on them, so it is putting its foot down for websites that aren’t deemed “mobile friendly” by it’s own analysis tool. With this update, Websites will now be forced to change if they want their rankings to improve.
Last year was the first time mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic and reports by comScore show that 60% of total digital media time is spent on tablets and smartphones. However, websites that are not been optimized have been turning potential costumers away. Users today expect your website to display properly on their mobile screens. According to Google, 72% expect websites to work correctly on their mobile device, and 61% will leave if the site is not mobile friendly.
So because of this, Google has been working on major algorithm change that will revolutionize the way mobile friendliness is determined. From April 21st, this new algorithm will be gradually rolled out worldwide, affecting mobile searches in all languages in all corners of the glove.
But if Google already considered mobile usability’s as part of its ranking calculations, why is this day been dubbed as “mobilegeddon”?
Because with this update, Google algorithm will favour mobile-friendly websites (websites that have large text, easy to click links, that resizes on all screens), using a real-time page-by-page basis to determine mobile friendly sites and penalize sites that display poor on mobile devices. A website that is not a responsive website or mobile-friendly will suffer negative SEO and decreased search engine rankings. This could also mean dips in revenue for companies who depend heavily on web traffic, such as small businesses. This could be ‘apocalyptic’ for millions of websites.
The fall in rankings will only affect searches done on mobile phones and not tablets or desktop computers. Google estimates that around half of all Google searches are expected to come from mobile devices by the end of 2015, so we could be looking at a significant impact.
How to get your website up to Google standard
- Have a responsive website that automatically displays the correct size and settings, allowing the user to view and experience the website correctly on all devices. The pages, text, link spacing all changes according to the size of the screen.
- Ensure Google’s mobile bots can crawl your site. If Google can’t see it, it may as well not even be there
- Ensure the mobile version of your site is active and functional. Responsive design are the most popular, but you can also have a separate hosted mobile version of your site. As long as it is mobile friendly, Google doesn’t care.
So if your website is not yet mobile friendly, now is the time to invest. Unsure what to do? Contact us for a free quote so you don’t drop down the Google rankings.