April 21st was the day that every single non mobile-friendly website owner feared. Google have announced that from now on, they will be favouring mobile-friendly websites over their non-friendly counterparts when deciding what search results to show to mobile users. Whilst this isn’t expected to happen overnight, Google does expect clear cut changes to be visible within a few weeks.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly, now might be the time to think about change! Rough estimates show that 15-40% of searches may be affected by the biggest algorithm change by Google in years. So, how do you respond? What do you need to do to ensure your mobile traffic doesn’t take a huge hit? Does this affect Desktop and Tablet devices? We have some answers below:
Why have Google made this algorithm change?
Up to 50% of website traffic is now from mobile, and with Google tending to be more and more concerned with usability and user experience, the algorithm change reflects this, focusing more on the mobile search experience.
How severely will it affect search results?
No-one truly knows yet. The effect will be felt more than the Panda and Penguin algorithm changes combined, so the impact for many sites could be quite severe. But fear not, your site won’t just disappear from mobile searches. Additionally, this affects mobile searches only.
How will it affect me?
Be sure to know your users and where your traffic comes from. Do you rely on purchases made from iPhones? Do your users frequently browse your site on their commute home, from their mobile phone? These are the questions you need to ask of your business and analytics, to see what next steps you need to take.
How do I find out if my site is mobile-friendly?
Take the test! Google are transparent on this matter, and even published a guide, showing designers and developers the common mistakes to avoid when building a mobile site.
What can I do to ensure my site isn’t affected?
In short: Go responsive! Responsive web design is Google’s favoured type of web design, and ensures your website is mobile friendly as well as offering optimal performance on tablet and desktop. Additional ways of ensuring your site is mobile friendly include:
- Dynamic Serving: This is where the server responds with different HTML (and CSS) on the same URL depending on the user agent (mobile/ Desktop etc) requesting the page.
- Create a separate mobile website, specific for mobile browsing only.
Here at Graphic Alliance, we’re big proponents of not panicking about the impending mobile ranking changes, but instead see opportunities for further optimisation and enhancements of a website’s performance. If you want to know more about web design, get in touch!