Is your website responsive or mobile-friendly? If it isn’t, well, you better get to work.
Google, in a post on their Webmaster Central blog, announced that they will be rolling out a major update to search results. From 21 April, websites that are mobile-friendly will start ranking higher than those that are not. Google has been warning website owners to get mobile-friendly for quite some time. Now they have decided to take it to the next level.
Google uses more than 200 ranking signals to determine how to rank pages. The mobile-friendliness of a website is going to be a significant one. As it stands now, there are no penalties for not having a mobile-friendly website. However, a site that is designed for mobile devices will rank higher than one that is not optimized for mobiles. It’s definitely a good idea for website owners to make the necessary changes if they don’t want to suffer their ranking to suffer.
This change is expected to affect searches made on mobiles worldwide. It will help users get more relevant and higher quality search results that are optimized for their devices. The update will affect only mobile search results – searches that are done from tablets or smartphones. Searches that are conducted on laptops and desktops will still remain the same.
Google has already started using information from indexed apps as one of the ranking factors for users who have signed in using their Google profile. Consequently, users may find more content from indexed apps on their search results.
Google also offers a guide to help business owners and webmasters create mobile-friendly websites. The guide helps you find out if your page is mobile-friendly with the help of a test. It also tells you how to make a website mobile-friendly with third-party software. If you’re more interested in the technical details, there is a separate resource for web developers and a Mobile SEO guide which has an overview of the whole implementation process offers a mobile-friendly website. If you do not have the technical skills to convert your website to one that is designed for mobile devices, Google also offers you advice on how to work with the developer.
If you own an e-commerce website that is not yet responsive, this update could turn out to be quite expensive in terms of revenue and mobile traffic loss.
Let’s say a user searches for “coffee cups” on the smartphone. From 21 April, the results that are displayed on the phone will depend on how mobile-friendly the e-commerce websites that sell coffee cups are. Google already annotates mobile-friendly websites to aid searchers by guiding them to a more rewarding mobile experience. When the annotation becomes part of the ranking algorithm of Google, the search results will be affected directly.
The same applies to local businesses as well. Google is already giving preference to mobile-friendly websites. This will further improve and would mean that local businesses and professionals who do not have a mobile-friendly website will take a serious hit in organic traffic.
Well, it depends on the search volume for your relevant keywords. Check Google Keyword Planner to get a break-down of how the searches are distributed across computers, mobile devices, and tablets. Don’t be too surprised if you find mobile searches higher than you anticipated.
To put this in perspective, about 48% of searches pertaining to local businesses come from the mobile device and about 37% of searches pertaining to e-commerce websites come from mobile devices alone. Hence if you do not have a mobile-friendly website, you would be ignoring about 35%-55% of your potential market.
If a customer searches for a product on his or her mobile phone, which is specifically sold only by your e-commerce website, your brand will likely still continue to rank on top. However, for a generic product search, there is likely to be a significant reordering of search results.
If you don’t want to lose out during this update, make sure that your website needs the mobile-friendly requirements as laid out by Google. Use this mobile-friendly testing tool from Google to make the assessment yourself. Even if you find that the results are not in your favor, there is no need to panic because you can easily make your website mobile-friendly. With the right experts, it is just a matter of a few days.
Do you want to make your website mobile-friendly? Contact us now.