Every time Google announces an update to their ranking algorithm the whole community panics…So the chances are, that as the owner of a website, you haven’t been spared of the latest scare.
Recently Google announced that “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.”
What does it mean?
Basically, it means that if your website doesn’t meet the criteria of mobile-friendliness, you will see a drop in rankings in Google search results. This means that other websites that meet the criteria will be pushed above your website for the same search terms (keywords) you’re currently ranking for or trying to target.
What’s Google’s mobile-friendly criterion?
There is always a certain mystery about how Google ranks websites and Webmaster and SEO community just thrives on that. But when it comes to mobile-friendliness, you can find the exact criterion right on Google’s website:
“A page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped”
How do you know if you’re website is mobile-friendly?
If your website was built ages ago, it’s most likely that it doesn’t meet this criteria. As there was no smart phones then there was no need for your website to be responsive to smaller screens (Makes sense right?).
But there is no need for guessing….Google will simply tell you! Just go to this link https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ type in your domain name and you’ll get your verdict in a second.
What can you do if your website doesn’t meet the criterion?
If your website was built on WordPress, you’re lucky, as there could be simple and fast solutions to make it mobile-friendly.
If you’re website was ‘coded from scratch’, you will highly likely need to start from a start.
Why should you care?
In simple terms: If you’re relying on search engine rankings to drive traffic to your website to gain leads or sale products/services online, you will see drop in your business results and ultimately to your bottom line.
Having said that, the purpose of your website is to provide the best experience for your visitors that you possibly can in order to convert them to become your fans, leads, clients…or what ever your business objective is.
And that’s what Google is all about; all their Pandas, Penguins (and other animals) are targeted to reward those who provide valuable and relevant user experience and to penalise those who are not.
What to do next?
- Check if your website is mobile-friendly?
- Think about your current website. Does it provide good value to your visitors? Is the design and content engaging, clear and easy to navigate? Would you hang around if it wasn’t your website?
- Check what are 6 Excellent Reasons To Consider A Website Redesign and how you can do it without breaking a bank
Google has been rolling out this update since 21st April and we have not yet seen a major effect…so there is still time to make your site mobile friendly.
If you found this update useful, maybe someone else will too….so feel free to share with your community