The big online change – is your website mobile-ready?
People love their smartphones. Every year the percentage of internet usage from mobile devices increases significantly.
In 2014, over 50% of online searches were from mobile devices. By the end of 2015, this number may be close to 60%!
This means that for many businesses, the mobile version of your site is used just as much as the desktop version. It’s important that these mobile viewers get a usable, visually appealing experience.
Google’s mission is to deliver the most appropriate and relevant search results to its users, to ensure they find what they are looking for. Naturally, people aren’t looking for websites that they can’t use. Having to pinch the screen and drag along in order to read text is a negative user-experience, and unless the user is specifically looking for your company, they will hit the back button and try one of your competitors instead.
To prevent this, your website needs to adapt itself to fit whatever screen is being used to view it. This is known as “responsive” design. A responsive, mobile-friendly website is a great user experience; the text is large enough to see and clickable links are separate and large enough to tap.
Google search results are recommendations. Google wants to send people to websites that they can properly use, as it wants them to find what they need quickly, and keep trusting the search engine’s judgement. Its search algorithm has been taking the design of your site into consideration for quite some time already. But it’s about to ramp up the emphasis of mobile friendly search results.
Google’s next update
In February Google finally made an official announcement: From April 21st 2015 they will be “expanding use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”. Functionally, this means that any non-responsive websites will start ranking very poorly for those 60% of searches conducted from mobile devices.
In other words – any website that is not mobile friendly has a chance of getting penalised heavily & no longer prioritised in Google search results.
This means a noticeable reduction in traffic and sales for many businesses. The pressure is on.
A lot of people probably don’t look at their own company’s website that often and may not have even noticed whether their website looks good on a mobile phone. Here are a couple tests you can do to see if your site is mobile friendly:
1. See for yourself
Get out your mobile phone and Google your own business name. Before you click into your own site, look under the name and URL and see if the words “mobile friendly” appear like they do for our website.
Next, click into your website and see how your website looks. If it looks like tiny version of the website you’d normally see from a computer, with tiny text that you can’t read without zooming in, you have a problem.
2. Google’s Mobile-Friendly test
If you are still unsure, try Google’s Mobile-Friendly test. Let Google’s own tool tell you if your website is mobile-friendly, so you can know for certain if this new update will affect you. You can use the tool here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
What to do if your site is not Mobile-Friendly?
If you rely on visitors to your website to generate sales or disseminate information, you’ll need to act soon. Depending on the state of your current website, you might be able to have changes made that improve mobile use. However it may be the case that you need a new website designed and developed. Fast action is important, because search rankings will be affected from April 21st 2015.
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site after this date you can expect to lose traffic and sales. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it could be to recover.
We can help
We have already upgraded most of our clients’ websites to be responsive. Their search rankings are protected from this update, and some have improved dramatically. Website bounce rates and session duration have also seen significant improvements. We can do the same for you.