Internet giant Google has given webmasters until 21st April to make their websites mobile friendly… meaning websites should be made easily readable even on mobile devices. Now, if you own a website, it is the right time to get to work and fix it …else you face the risk of being ranked lower in Google search.
Google recently announced in its official blog post that the company “is currently working” a major structural algorithm change which would increase focus on mobile-usability of websites as one of the criteria for ranking. It has been rolled out on a phase manner and once it is fully implemented, the algorithm change will have major impact on visibility of your website on the search results. Zineb Ait Bahajji, who is a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, had stated at SMX Munich that, the impact of this change on websites will be more significant than Panda or Penguin, which are considered Google’s more impactful search algorithm so far.
You have about two weeks to fix your website and Google has already started indexing websites as ‘Mobile Friendly’ in the search results. With majority of people now accessing website via their mobile phones or tablets, Google has been making efforts to address mobile audiences by tailoring its search results in favour of those which are optimised for mobile users. For instance, a responsive website will now perform better and rank higher in Google search results when compared to non-optimised websites. So, if you want to increase your website’s click-through rate directly from search engine, get to work and fix your website now.
Is this Just Another Google Update?
When Google says something about search results you have to take it seriously. Their last update – Panda or Penguin – was no minor data refresh or small tweaks. It changed the way linking of websites to another works and many businesses went out of business for devious marketing practices! And, this recent announcement appears to much more serious as the company has been very clear on what needs to be done by webmasters to make their websites mobile-friendly. This new algorithm update for mobile devices could bring complete change on how we look at search results.
As far as the update specifics, we know that Google is good at making things ambiguous. The company has not released details on how this latest change on “mobile friendliness” would be measured, or how it will matter into a website’s visibility on search engine. My simple observation from past experiences is that the level of impact will be huge and any website that is “not mobile-friendly” will see dramatic pagerank drop in mobile searches. The outcome will become much clearer when 21st April comes as Google will try to prove that it is introducing not “just another Google update.”
The dateline of 21st April may not hold much significance but Google’s intention is now very clear. Google appears to be serious about users having a great online experience when using portable devices like mobile phones and tablets. It wants users to easily find what they are looking for besides directing them to high-quality and easy-to-use websites. That was one of the reasons the company rolled out Panda, which prefers to rank websites with high-quality content. And Penguin was launched to filter out spam websites.
Gear Up Now
Like any Google update motives, your attention should be on making your website users happy. Message is pretty simple. If you can give your readers a great , Google will reward you for the extra efforts you put in towards better user experience.
However, if your website has been already been mobile-friendly, you are set for the big change. You are likely to see your website jump above your competitors. But, if you ignore this update ‘request’ from Google, be ready to face action. So, get yourself the service of experts, maybe from Fiverr and make the changes on your website Google wants you to do.
3 things you should immediately consider doing it:-
Optimise your website for mobiles: You can either have a separate mobile website or make it responsive for all editions. Make sure your website can be accessible smoothly from any device.
Check if Google can crawl your site: You should verify that Google’s bot crawlers can access your website on mobile. If they cannot access it, then your website is not responsive. So, check again.
Page-by-page compatibility: Make sure that each pages of your website is optimised for mobile phones.
Google appears to be deadly serious about this change. The company has even offered to help webmasters checkout their websites by offering “mobile-friendly test”. Even as details about the changes remain mysterious, Google is offering Mobile-Friendly Test. The test can check out your website’s compatibility with all mobile devices. Besides, you can also check out the Mobile Usability Report which is accessible from the Google Webmaster Tools to ensure that your website is error free.
Updating your website after the dateline may take more time for your website to rank high again even if you make the changes. Remember, Google is targeting mobile users in a big way and if you are not part of this process, it can afford to ignore your website as there are thousands of sites which will be considered for ranking.
Get in touch with us if you'd like some advice or help making your website mobile friendly.