Mobile usability will now affect your website’s Google mobile ranking. Ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly is now an imperative.
You may have just wiped the sweat off your brow after tax season, but another concern is lurking around the corner. Google recently announced that on April 21st it will officially update its search algorithm to consider mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in search results. Google’s webmaster blog states, “this change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on our search results.”
The move won’t come as surprise to many in the SEO industry as Google announced in November that they would be adding a label indicating that a website was “mobile-friendly” to their search results. However, for the estimated 91% of business owners without a responsive website or mobile site, the news will likely be a sudden and unexpected business challenge. Many of these businesses had no plan to invest in a new or modified website this fiscal quarter. However, the Google announcement certainly will lead to a heightened level of urgency.
A recent comScore report on the growing prevalence of mobile devices stated that smartphones and tablets combined to account for 60 percent of all online traffic. According to SimilarWeb, mobile devices comprised almost half of all traffic from June to November on Google, with 52 percent coming from desktop computers and 48 percent from mobile. These numbers are only expected to increase.
These numbers and Google’s algorithm changes may impact businesses without mobile-friendly websites in the following ways:
1. A drop in ranking
While a specific penalty has not been noted for non-mobile-friendly websites, through the algorithm change and the label change before it, it’s clear that Google’s focus is on improving mobile search. Mobile-friendly sites will surely benefit with a rise in rankings. If these sites are rising, non-mobile sites have to fall. And if you examine it logically, if your site goes from page one to three in favor of mobile-friendly sites, does it really matter if you are being penalized or only being reshuffled due to an algorithm change?
2. The creation of a mobile-only index
Last week at SMX, Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, told attendees that Google was already working on a mobile-only index, but he wasn’t certain when the project would be complete. When this happens, your company can either benefit from the increased visibility or find themselves left out of mobile search completely.
And remember, unlike the IRS and your taxes, Google does not give extensions.
If you are uncertain whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, contact us. We can use our tools to see how your sites will be affected by Google’s algorithm change, free of charge.