7th April 2015

How mobile friendliness impacts on your search ranking

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On April 21st 2015 Google will release a new algorithm that will affect any website that isn’t mobile friendly. This update will penalise search rankings if your site isn’t mobile optimised or friendly, which will have a detrimental effect on your brand’s visibility and profit.

Unlike Google’s algorithms in the past that were processed on a monthly or unpredictable time cycles, this algorithm will be processed the next time Googlebots crawl your pages. But the good news is, you still have time to get up to mobile-friendly speed.

Why is Google doing this?

The end result Google wants for the customer is improved customer searching experience. This is understandable because I’ve been on many websites whilst browsing on my mobile devices and, although some pages were mobile optimised, others weren’t and this really let the customer journey down. If your website isn’t mobile optimised, then you’re going to see a high bounce rate because nobody likes to pinch and zoom to find relevant information. How many times have you been on a mobile device searching through a web page that isn’t mobile optimised to find that tapping the link you really need only results in your finger pressing the wrong button?

To help customers Google have introduced a “mobile-friendly” label to their search results making it easier for customers to see what sites are mobile friendly even before they tap through to the site.

As Googlebots crawl each page of your site (if it is indexed) they rate each page separately, so if your pages don’t follow the following criteria, they may not receive the “moblie-friendly” label. A page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

The incentives for businesses to improve their mobile experience is an improvement in mobile search engine rankings.

…Which means you need to plan ahead

If you don’t plan then you will experience the consequences of not optimising your website which will result in a loss of potential customers in the early stages of the inbound mobile marketing funnel. One way you can plan ahead is by finding out whether your site is mobile friendly. Google’s Mobile friendly test is a good tool to use or you can view Google’s mobile guidelines.