It’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t run to our computer to ‘Google’ an answer. Now, almost nobody ‘runs’ to their computer, especially our audience who all prefer using their mobile devices. Having everything at our fingertips has revolutionized the way we live our lives. It’s now possible to find new shops and restaurants while on the go, find and buy products, book vacations, deposit checks – yes, and even plan your wedding – all while waiting at the stoplight.
Last year 30 percent of all searches came from a mobile device. Today, over 60 percent! To keep up with the changes, Google has modified its search algorithm to reward sites that are mobile optimized.
While this is great news for users, what does it mean for your businesses?
On April 21st Google made the change that will affect most of our businesses. If you haven’t mobilized your website, here is what is happening to your ranking on Google. A site’s “mobile-friendliness” now plays a key role in the way it is ranked, and sites that are not mobile optimized will appear lower down on Google’s search pages. The algorithm scans each page of your site looking for mobile best practices, including checking for load times and responsive design elements. You want to make sure that your site uses text sizes that are readable without zooming, content that fits the screen so scrolling and zooming aren’t necessary, and spacing your links so tapping the right one isn’t difficult for users. Flash is also a problem, it’s not commonly supported on mobile devices and Google will be docking you for that, too.
With mobile search growing at 10x the rate of desktop, businesses that don’t have mobile-ready site stand to lose up to 1/3rd of their traffic. More than two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies are not considered mobile-friendly, so this is set to have a big impact in the marketing arena.
Want to find out how your site is performing? Check it against Google’s mobile friendly test to see if you’re ready to go.
Not ready, what can you do?
While Google will be checking every page of your site, it’s great to know that the algorithm is applied page-by-page and not to the whole site. What this means is that as different pages become mobile friendly they can start to benefit from the SEO boost offered by the new algorithm. So focus on your homepage and commonly used areas of the site if you’re not in the position for a complete overhaul now (right in the middle of wedding season).
In the long term, however, the industry is moving to responsive web design and having a site that adapts easily to a mobile or tablet environment will be your key to success.