On 21st April 2015, Google will be releasing its latest algorithm, which will reward mobile responsive sites with a higher search ranking. This latest algorithm shouldn’t come as a surprise and, if it does, don’t say we didn’t warn you…
With 40% of the world’s population owning a smartphone and mobile search becoming increasingly popular, it’s no wonder Google are aiming to provide the best and most useful searches for its users.
Google receives around 47 million visitors who spend 22 billion minutes browsing per month. 29% per cent of mobile users use Google as their sole search engine on their device. That equates to nearly nine million people a month, just on Google alone.
"When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps," says Google.
But, will it really affect my business?
Google rules the search space with a 75% market share, and this latest change could impact businesses more than they think.
Collin Colburn, an analyst at Forrester, said, "I think it should be a shake-up for mobile. Google does change its algorithm quite frequently, but this is a bit of a larger change...Websites that are not designed [with mobile in mind] will take a hit and websites that are responsively designed will begin to rise in search results."
Google warned that the change will affect "mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results." So, if your site isn’t optimised and drops to the bottom of the rankings, your mobile-friendly competitors will be at an immediate advantage.
If losing your search ranking isn’t a good enough reason for you to invest in a mobile optimised site, then maybe the customer experience element will persuade you.
According to research by client acquisition specialist Dan Giordano, 57% of mobile users will not recommend a business that has an incompatible mobile website, and 40% of users will switch to a competitor’s website if they experience even the slightest problem accessing the site they are currently trying to view. Can your business afford to miss out on these potential customers?
Do the Mobile-Friendly Test
First thing to do, is check if your website fits into Google’s definition of being optimised for mobile, with its Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply paste in your URL and if you see the message, “Awesome! This page is mobile friendly,” you don’t need to take any action (well, not until the next algorithm change, anyway!)
If you get the message, “Not mobile friendly”, Google will provide some information on what changes need to be made.
Pagespeed Insights will show you what needs to be fixed, with tips on how to make your pages more mobile-friendly. (This is worth checking out even if your site passed the Mobile-Friendly Test, as it gives some handy information on how to make your pages load faster.)
If you manage your own site, you can also use Google’s Webmaster Tools to check your site with the Mobile Usability Report. This report will identify the pages which are having severe usability issues for mobile users.
How to go about mobile-optimisation
Once you’ve ascertained the extent of your site's mobile-friendliness, it's time to implement the necessary changes. Google offers some advice however, if you're using an enterprise level CMS, such as Sitecore or SDL Web, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of specialists when optimising your site for mobile. Patching together a mobile solution could be at the detriment to your customer experience on desktop.
Although Google has said that this latest algorithm won’t impact desktop rankings, that doesn’t mean to say there won’t be desktop repercussions in the future. Mobile-optimisation is UX best practice, so can lead to other improvements that are desktop ranking factors, such as bounce rates.
At Building Blocks, we always adopt a ‘mobile-first’ approach when designing a website. This ensures optimum UX for all users, regardless of what device they are using, whilst fully supporting business objectives. If your site is not currently responsive, it may well be time to give your digital touchpoints an overhaul.
See how Celebrity Cruises has benefitted from taking a mobile-first approach.
Coming up next...
In our next article, '24hrs until Mobilegeddon', we'll be answering frequently asked questions, including all you need to know about the impact on apps, mobile microsites and user search queries.
If you need advice on optimising your site for mobile, please contact us.