For quite sometime, how friendly your site is towards mobile devices has been a factor in Google search and overall rankings. It makes sense for sites that are mobile optimised to rank better than sites who aren’t. Unfortunately, up until this point, it hasn’t been obvious what the factors are that Google uses when working out mobile rankings.
And due to this, many medium to small business in particular who have limited resources, haven’t invested time and money into optimising their websites to cater for mobile traffic. Up until now, these businesses have been able to get away with this. But due to the changes in the Google Algorithm being implemented on April 21st, businesses are really going to have to change their approach. Google recently posted an article about how this new algorithm change will help to show how mobile friendliness is ranked. This will affect websites worldwide.
So what does this mean?
- Websites that are mobile friendly will appear higher in the search results
- More content related to mobile apps will also be higher in search results
As you may already know, mobile traffic has been on the rise, particularly in the last few years. Currently, according to comScore, the majority of digital media consumption now takes place in mobile apps.
Combined with mobile web, mobile usage as a whole accounts for 60% of time spent, while desktop-based digital media consumption makes up the remain 40%.
There is no way around this data, and to be honest, you need to start working on mobile optimisation now to be ready for the April 21st changes. It’s time to put in the effort and optimise your sites user experience.
How can I prepare?
Your site may be mobile friendly already. If so, great! This means that you don’t have much to worry about.
If you haven’t managed to alter your site and make it mobile friendly, we recommend making this a priority for your business as it will have a huge effect.
- If your website is run on the popular blogging platform WordPress, there are thousands of mobile responsive designs from sites like ThemeForest
- Make sure Google’s mobile bots can crawl your site. If Google can’t see it, it may as well not even be there.
- Once you have a mobile responsive website theme, be sure to take the time to go through and check every page on your site on a smartphone to ensure it can be navigated correctly. Just because your home page is mobile friendly doesn’t mean the rest of your site is.
Fortunately, Google has released a short guide on mistakes to avoid when optimising your website for Mobile SEO:
Here is an overview of each:
- Unplayable content: Unplayable content includes videos, or other content, that cannot be played on mobile devices, such as videos that need Flash.
- Faulty redirects: If you have set up new mobile URL’s for your new mobile optimised site, you need to make sure that visitors viewing your site on a mobile device will visit these links instead of desktop version of the site.
- App download interstitials: This is when websites block the view of pages with a prompt to download the site’s native app. Instead, use a small HTML banner at the top of the page.
- Irrelevant cross-links: Users are linked to desktop-optimised pages from the mobile version of the site, and vice versa. Check your links to make sure that they point to the correct equivalent page.
- Slow mobile pages: This is one that I believe is an absolute priority for all business owners. Make sure your whole website (Desktop, tablet and mobile version) load quickly. There are many free tools such as this one to check page load speed.
What will happen if I don’t optimise my site?
After the new algorithm change is implemented your traffic will likely plateau. This will obviously have an effect on your business. With more traffic coming from mobile devices and less from desktop machines, you’ll miss out on exposure in Google rankings.
What if I do optimise my site? What will I see?
You’ll likely see an increase in traffic from April 21st as the updated algorithm is rolled out worldwide. New visitors will have an improved experience on your site as it will be easy to navigate, not matter what sized screen smartphone they are on. Consequently, this will impact your conversation rate for sales and email sign ups in a positive way.
How can I check if my website is mobile optimised?
If you’re not entirely sure if your website is optimised for mobile, there are two tools that will help you to check. The first is a
The first is called the Mobile Friendly Test. This test will take under a minute and will show if your site meets the Google standards of mobile optimised. It’s likely that this mobile friendly test will feature all the new algorithm ranking factors that are coming on April 21st.
Here is a great guide I recommend going through. It’s called the Essential Guide To Mobile SEO