It could be bad news after the 21st of April 2015 (tomorrow) for your website if it doesn't meet Google’s new criteria for a “mobile friendly” website.
We are not going to get super technical in this article, instead focus on the important areas you will need to address to meet Google’s new criteria with your current website, or help you decide if it is time to redesign your website. But just so we are on the same page, one result of this update is your website could potentially drop out of any future Google searches on a mobile if you don't address any issues. To help you out we are offering a free mobile website assessment to identify any issues, click here to take up this free offer.
Google regularly updates its algorithm that determines what web pages or websites are delivered to a person searching through Google search engine. There have been some major updates in the last two years (named Panda and Penguin). Tomorrow’s Google update will affect a larger number of websites than both previous updates. Predictions are up to 50% of websites will be affected by this update.
Why is Google focusing on Mobile Search?
Clearly mobiles are becoming more and more popular as consumers now have access 24/7 to the Internet via their mobiles and tablets. Before teleco’s opened up data packages to allow you to surf the net wherever you had a mobile signal, you were limited in where you could access the Internet. Oh how things have changed in the past 2-5 years.
While Google will not comment on what percentage of searchers use mobile vs PC, estimates are between 30% and 50% of searchers are carried out on a mobile phone or tablet.
What does it mean for your website to be Mobile Friendly?
Ever clicked to a website on your mobile and had to pinch your fingers on the screen to zoom in and read the text or view the images? A web page not automatically sizing to the screen you are viewing it on is one of the first signs it is not mobile friendly.
Other giveaways are:
- Links too close together
- Buttons too close together
- Text too small to read
- Content wider than the mobile screen
Google is on a mission to ensure visitors get the best search results, including delivering the best pages to a searcher based on their technology. So if a visitor to Google is on their mobile, then from the 21st of April, 2015 the pages Google displays to this mobile user will be prioritised to the websites that are mobile friendly. Another term for a website that is optimised for viewing on a mobile is Mobile Ready.
What do you mean by mobile ready?
There are three main ways to make your website is mobile ready (without manually adjusting things like space around links, buttons and images).
A) Creating a separate Mobile Website
This was one of the first ways a website was optimised to display on a mobile. A web designer did this by designing a separate website that served up to a visitor it recongised was on a mobile. Usually you can tell if you are viewing a mobile website because the URL will look something like this m.yourwebsite.com
B) Responsive Design
This is Google’s top pick when it comes to a mobile friendly or mobile ready website. The major benefit with responsive design is that you do not create two copies of your website (PC or full version and a mobile version). When you view the website you only ever go to one URL on mobile, tablet or PC.
Engage Online Marketing’s website is built using responsive design and for this reason Google has already given Engage Online Marketing the tick of approval that they will not be impacted by the upcoming Google update regarding mobile design.
C) Dynamic Serving
The third design option that passes Google’s mobile update test is Dynamic serving. This is similar to responsive design but there have been problems with errors in this option. Dynamic serving detects what device you are using and through HTML serves up a version of your website that is appropriate. So like Responsive Design it uses the same URL, there is not a separate mobile website.
What do I need to know about the Google update?
- If your website is not mobile friendly, you may lose search ranking and as a result organic traffic/conversions
- This update will be larger than two of the previous more well-known updates, Panda and Penguin
- This update affects your website, landing pages and blog.
Is your website ready? Sign up for our free mobile assessment to ensure that your website is taking the necessary steps to avoid being penalized in search results!