In a rare Google publication, the search engine giant today announced big changes to certain search algorithms are coming. Rolling out from April 21, the company will increase the ranking of sites that are mobile-friendly and also rank surface app results much higher.
The company says that the change will have a “significant impact” on all mobile searches in all languages worldwide and as a result Google says that ‘users will find higher quality results’.
What does this means for your website?
This marks Google’s much-anticipated step towards delivering primarily mobile-friendly sites in mobile search. If you follow Google changes closely, the signs had been building up over the past few months.
Google hinted at this back when it introduced an official set of mobile-friendly site criteria, along with a mobile friendly site testing tool to determine whether or not your site met Google’s criteria. The company said it might start using that criteria as a ranking signal in the future, and just a few months later here we are. Basically, this update will favour and increase rankings for websites that are mobile-friendly and relegate websites that are non-responsive.
Are you prepared?
Google said it wants sites to prepare, which is a very rare statement. So companies and agencies do have a few months to make their websites more mobile-friendly. Google told us it had been experimenting with mobile ranking factors recently, and now it is here.
To prepare, you can use Google’s mobile usability reports and the mobile friendly testing tool. In addition, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.
Given the amount of time they are giving us to prepare for this update, I would image that the impact that this is going to have is going to be very significant indeed.
The majority of websites now receive more mobile traffic than ever before; with many suggesting up to 80% of all traffic is from a mobile device or tablet. This is partly due to the large amount of mobile Apps such as Facebook driving traffic to websites through advertising, along with the huge increase in individuals checking their emails on the move.
With that in mind, it makes perfect sense for all websites to become responsive simply to increase conversion rates. But now with Google’s latest update, it has quickly moved from a desire to an absolute must! Websites will not only have a lower conversion rate but also a lower ranking if they are not mobile-friendly.