With almost 70% market share, Google is the top dog in search by quite a margin. While it may not be your search engine of choice, the simple fact that 7 out of 10 searches happen via Google means you need to pay attention to Google when it comes to search engine optimization of your site. As with all search engines, Google switches up their process of establishing rankings from time to time; they don’t always advertise what the changes are, but when they do it pays to take action. One recent change Google actually announced this past March and completed rolling-out in mid-May is a boost to the results page rankings for mobile-friendly pages, which will push these sites higher up the page.
What is mobile-friendly anyway?
Based on Google’s mobile guidelines, mobile-friendly sites are broadly defined as sites that aren’t difficult to view and don’t offer a frustrating user experience on a mobile device, like iPhones or Android smartphones. This means making sure your site:
- does not require zooming in order to actually read the content,
- does not use Flash,
- making sure your buttons and links can be used with a touchscreen
Why should I care my site isn’t mobile-friendly?
While we’ve previously discussed mobile-friendly sites and how to check your site’s mobile-friendliness, Google’s recent change means it is now more important than ever to make sure each part of your site meets their definition of mobile-friendly. Each time the Googlebot checks your site, it runs a real-time check of each page. While this is not new, Google is now actively boosting the search rankings of mobile-friendly pages pushing them further up the page of results, which often leads to an increase in the amount of traffic to these pages.
Their primary motivation is to provide the best experience for users of mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, which are quickly replacing desktop computers when it comes to web browsing. For the USA alone, Google says, “94% of people with smartphones search for local information,” and “77% of mobile searches occur at…places where desktop computers are likely to be present.” This means a majority of your customers or potential customers are likely using a mobile device to interact with your site. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you are now missing out on more traffic from Google and less traffic means fewer potential customers.
Great, my site isn’t mobile-friendly. Now what?
Depending on your site and your skills, there are a number of paths to follow. With a Content Management System, like WordPress, going mobile-friendly could be as simple as updating your current theme or switching to a new one. Failing that, it may be time to get in touch with a professional (we’d love to help) to make some changes to your site’s code or even start that redesign you’ve been mulling over for months. Google offers a number of insights into the process in their Webmaster Guidelines.
If your site is not mobile-friendly, now is the time to make some changes. While, it is never too late to benefit from going mobile-friendly, you don’t gain anything from putting this off for another day.
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