Is your website mobile friendly?
Google have been giving search ‘brownie points’ to mobile friendly websites for some time, as reflected in the search results pages on mobile devices (i.e. smart phones, tablets etc). However, given the continuing expansion of the use of mobile devices, they are upping the ante on sites that are not mobile friendly by penalising (colloquially known as ‘Google slapping’) them, from April 21st. In other words, if your website is not mobile-friendly, not only will it not give you a positive search rank, it will punish you by dropping you further down the rankings.
Their word on the subject is…
“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.” *
So, how can you tell whether or not your website will disappear from Google after April 21st? Luckily, you’ll be able to find out by using this handy online tool that Google have produced to give you the heads-up on that score…
So, if you get the big Google thumbs-up, then worry not. If they do consider your site mobile unfriendly, then in the words of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, don’t panic! At least, not immediately anyway. After reading Google’s statement, it appears that your search ranking will only be affected if the person searching is using a mobile device. A desktop PC is unlikely to be affected in the short term.
But this may well be not such good news, as last year was when we saw internet access by mobile devices overtake fixed internet access for the first time, and, according to comScore** this trend is only going to continue as time goes on. So, whichever way you cut it, you need to make sure your site is properly mobile-friendly, and now Google have now decided to cattle-prod those who have not paid attention to this facet of their marketing into action.
So, if you’ve found that your website is mobile friendly, great! Keep up the good work! If it isn’t, what can be done? Well, have a word with your web marketing provider and find out if they can make the existing site mobile friendly. It may actually be cheaper and easier to go for a complete site rebuild in some cases, so brace yourself for that eventuality, depending on how the site has been coded.
If you are having remedial work done on your website, while you’re there, ask your web developer if they can make the revamped / new site a direct marketing driver of new business enquiries. If they don’t know what this is, fire them and get someone in who can. The trouble with most web designers is they are that – designers. They are not marketers. So most websites end up as an online brochure, when they should actually be working hard to earn their keep and persuading prospects to take that next step and get in touch with you for more information.
If you would like any more advice from us on whether you’re likely to be affected by this change to the way Google searches and what can be done about it, please do get in touch by clicking here, we’d be delighted to assist.