As of April 21, Google will begin the roll-out of an algorithm update that will penalise websites that are not mobile-friendly. Are you ready for it?
The update will affect all searches conducted on mobile devices; smartphones, tablets and other internet enabled handheld or wearable technology. If your website is not responsive to different screen sizes, viewable on a range of device types and properly configured then your mobile search visibility will suffer.
Never before have Google forewarned of an impending algorithm change. Not until now, at least. Given this unprecedented behaviour we can only assume that this is a clear sign to webmasters; take this seriously. Here’s what Google had to say in their official announcement on the Google Webmaster blog:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. 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.
Why this is Big News
Mobile internet usage has seen a rapid rise in recent times, almost doubling in the past year. Web page views on mobile phones and tablets alone account for over 42% of all UK web traffic.
Our lives become more and more reliant on mobile technology by the day, and Google seeks to be at the forefront of this behavioural shift. By rewarding websites that have adapted to this changing digital landscape Google secure their unshakeable position because consumers and businesses alike remain reliant on their services. Keeping up with these changes could determine the future success or failure of your business.
Source: We Are Social
Will My Website be Affected?
Ask yourself this: Is my website mobile friendly or not? If you’re not sure there are two easy ways to find out.
First, on a mobile device, Google your business. In November last year, Google started rolling out its “mobile-friendly” label for mobile search results (right). If your site shows up in the results and is sporting this label then you can breathe easy. The second method is by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
If your website is mobile-friendly then this is potentially very positive news indeed. Your site is likely to experience gains in its mobile search engine rankings with a possible knock-on effect for your overall rankings. If your website fails either of the recommended tests (see below) that’s when you should start to worry.
My Site is NOT Mobile-Friendly. What Now?
If your site has failed either of the mobile-friendly tests above, you need to urgently consider making changes to your website. Inaction could put upwards of 50% of your web traffic at jeopardy. Google has given webmasters a clear timeframe to fix mobile friendliness issues before the April 21 update. We recommend using this time wisely.
Google gives clear guidelines as to what makes a mobile-friendly website. However, implementing them is often easier said than done. In some cases you may simply need to update your CMS software. In other cases your site could require a range of technical configuration and mobile SEO in order to improve its compliance to Google’s preferred practice. The worst case scenario is that in order to become mobile friendly you may need a new website altogether, one that implements the latest in responsive web design.
We can tell you exactly what it will take to get your website ready for the big update next month and what measures must be taken to embrace mobile-friendliness. Get in touch today for a free website review or give us a call on 01252 622722 to discuss any questions you have with one of the team.