So what on earth is really going on?
You’ve heard about #mobilegeddon, so what does it mean for your website and what impact will it have? The update will mean that mobile search results will be different to desktop. Google will rank mobile-friendly sites higher than those that are not simply because they are easier to use from a customer perspective.
Interestingly this is based on more than just if your website is responsively designed, although responsive design is the ultimate goal, there are other ways to optimise to make your current website more mobile user-friendly. Thus preventing any major traffic loss.
To put this into perspective for you, Google is not out to destroy your rankings, they do not roll out these updates just for fun or to shake up the market and see what happens. Just because you don’t have responsive design, does not automatically mean your website will drop off mobile search results.
“Because global web traffic from mobile devices is on the rise, and recent studies show that mobile visitors are more likely to revisit mobile-friendly sites, mobile usability is now relevant for optimal search results.” – Google Webmasters
Google algorithm updates are always for the better, to improve customer search experience online (which is Google’s USP after all). The mobile-friendly update is simply a nudge in the right direction; this is not as the tabloids and webosphere have dubbed it ‘Mobilegeddon’.
Some facts about Google algorithm updates:
- Algorithm updates take weeks to roll out, and will not impact websites instantly
- It only takes a few tweaks to come closer to Google’s mobile-friendly standards
- Your website does not have to be responsive to be mobile-friendly (although it does help)
- Mobile crawl results will be separate from desktop searches
- Algorithm updates are incentives, not entrapment
So as you see there is no immediate reason to panic. Now you should look into some steps you can take to prevent loosing traffic through poor mobile usability, if you haven’t already. Google’s mobile checker tool is a great place to start.
Then, take some time and plan your strategy:
- Make a list of the issues and rank them on their complexity, it would be better to begin with the smaller easier fixes.
- Prioritise the most important and the ones that would have the most effect.
- Begin fixing issues with the easiest and most critical first leaving the larger jobs that may involve some re design last (e.g. touch elements too close).
Read Google’s mobile usability guide for further guidance on the points above.
So as you see Google’s next algorithm update is not biblical at all, it is a step in the right direction for all of us to improve customer experience when browsing our mobile websites. We are on the edge of a precipice; looking directly into the future of Internet browsing, look at this update as an opportunity to improve your mobile visitor experience, as at this time there is plenty of free advice both from Google and in the blogosphere to help you.
“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds” – Francis Bacon
We have been producing mobile-friendly (responsive) websites for years so if you would like to have a chat with our friendly team about any of the above, or you feel like you might need some help getting up to speed on Google’s mobile update, please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone: 01223 328017 or email: [email protected].
On one final note, you won’t be able to definitively determine whether your site’s rankings are impacted by the mobile friendly update by April 22nd. Although Google begun rolling out mobile-friendly today it’ll be a week or so before it makes its way to all pages in the index. And remember, this update only affects search rankings on mobile devices, search results in all languages globally, and applies to individual pages, not entire websites.