It’s coming… Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s “Mobilegeddon” and it’s coming for your company’s website today. That’s right, Google is changing the way it ranks websites in mobile searches, and those who fail to optimize their sites for mobile will be punished by page rank demotion. Sounds quite scary and confusing, right?
Mobile-friendly websites are critical for a company’s online presence. In fact, a 2015 study by Pew shows that 64% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, which provides a huge opportunity for companies to jump into the mobile world. In our fast-paced, on-the-go lives our smartphones are really an extra appendage. We don’t spend nearly as much time searching through the Internet on a desktop as we did in the past. By May 2014, mobile web and apps accounted for 60% of web traffic. We literally have all the information we could ever need in our back pocket or purse.
Due to this alarmingly high adoption rate of smartphones, without mobile optimization, a company’s website will see lower click-through-rates, less visibility and declining sales regardless of this search engine algorithm update. Larger text, easy-to-click links and automatic resizing to fit the screen all add to mobile “friendliness.” If you fail to update in meeting your mobile users’ needs, you’ll also find your website way down deep in the Google page rankings. So before your site ends up in a “Where’s Waldo” scenario – lost in page 55 or 56 of Google’s search engine result pages (SERP), we’ve compiled the details on this change with a look at future trends and advice for how to stay at your #1 page rank you’ve worked so hard to accomplish.
The Deets on Google’s Algorithm Change
This search engine algorithm update will affect websites of all languages and in every country. Here are the two biggest changes that will take place:
Mobile-friendly websites will appear higher in mobile searches. Google also began labeling mobile-friendly friendly sites within search results last year. This encourages users to click on a site that is mobile-friendly (eliminates the navigation headache and eye squinting). This current update only affects search on smartphones right now, but watch out – tablet search will likely follow.
More pertinent app information will appear through Google’s app indexing Now, Google will start ranking apps with relevant information even higher for users who are signed in.
How to Prepare
Portent did a little empirical research and found that 40% of the top 25,000 sites on the web are not mobile friendly. But, if you are in that 40%, take a few deep breaths and wipe that sweat off your brow because it’s not too late to jump on the mobile-friendly bandwagon. Google has given us two handy tools to check your website’s mobile compatibility, and make necessary changes to avoid page rank doom. Here’s what you can do:
Take the Mobile-Friendly Test. This allows you to see whether your website meets the minimum qualifications of a mobile-friendly site. Simply enter your web address and BAM! you’ll have a list of each aspect that does not meet the test and a screenshot of how your site looks on a mobile device, and can make changes accordingly.
Run tests using the Mobile Usability Report. This feature is more intricate but it helps you determine how Google sees the site as mobile-friendly. This will help you identify things like fonts that are too small, content and images that are not sized properly, and links and buttons that are too close to accurately click.
Staying on Top
If you already have a mobile site, why should you care about this update? Well, it then becomes all about the user experience. Here’s what you can do to ensure your site continues its stint at #1 once everyone becomes mobile-friendly:
Check that your site works on all smartphones. Ensure that photos, spacing and links look great on all interfaces.
Increase page load speed. Google ranks faster loading sites higher.
Provide features that your desktop site may not include. Most mobile searches are for local entities so if you have a brick and mortar business or office space, include a “nearby restaurants/transportation” feature of a voice search option to help you climb the ranks.
Jump the gun. More and more people are using smartphones to search the Web every day. Why wait to make more updates to your page?
How does the future look?
Pretty bright. This mobile “apocalypse” is actually a good thing. Google is pushing us in a direction where Internet search is moving. The search engine has always aimed to make user experience simple and effortless and this is yet another step in that direction as trends in information consumption continue to shift. By 2020, we may not see any Jetsons-like capabilities with the search engine, but our experiences may change drastically. Digital marketers will need to be more creative in how they utilize SEO as the Internet clutter is only getting thicker and websites will be competing more intensely with mobile apps for the top spots. Typing a search on the keyboard? Who needs that! Voice search may be the way to go. Or better yet, search engines may not even provide a list of websites for a search. You want an answer; so a search engine will simply crawling through mounds of data and provide you with that answer. However, as the search engine evolves, we’ll be sure to see some pretty nifty changes.
The bottom line is, not staying up-to-date on trends or updating your website’s mobile features will prevent your site from being found quickly and easily on mobile devices, ultimately losing sales, prospects and decreasing brand awareness.
At Alloy we specialize in developing custom content that drives traffic and boosts lead generation for clients’ websites. Our extensive reporting helps identify how social media and digital marketing efforts also impact SEO and website traffic each month. Contact us today for a mobile-friendly website facelift.