Is Your Website Ready For The Google Mobile Friendly Update

by Nicola Brown on March 5, 2015 No comments

Google announces mobile search ranking advantages for mobile friendly sites.

Google has made it clear in a spate of recent announcements that the “mobile friendliness” of a website is becoming more and more significant as a ranking factor for mobile searches.

In-line with most big algorithm changes from Google, this one places importance on improving the web experience for users of mobile phones.

Gone are the days when Google wants to present web pages where text is too small to read on a mobile phone. Where clicking on a single link is near impossible, or that you have to zoom, pinch and scroll sideways to see all content.

They want users to be presented with mobile friendly sites and apps that:

  • 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

It started in November with the “Mobile Friendly” label

On 18 November 2014 Google announced the “Mobile Friendly” label for websites.

This change allows users to see if a website is “mobile friendly” before clicking through to visit a page.

This initial change was rolled out in the two weeks following the announcement, so by Christmas we were seeing results that looked like this in the SERPs.

Google Mobile Label

We also saw additional functionality in Google’s webmaster tools that highlights major mobile usability issues across an entire site.

Webmaster tools mobile usability

More crucially within their announcement Google stated:

“We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.”

This statement of using mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal was a sign of things to come in their next big announcement.

On 26 February 2015 Google announced Mobile-Friendliness as a ranking signal

This was the big announcement that many in the SEO community have been expecting. Finally Google confirmed that mobile friendly sites will have a distinct advantage over those that are not.

However, it’s important to note that this advantage is only in mobile searches. Not those carried out on desk top.

What’s more they went on to state when they will be implementing this change, so that webmasters/owners can start to take the steps needed to fulfil the Google mobile friendly criteria.

Google stated:

“Starting April 21 2015, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

What do these changes mean for you?

If your site is “responsive” or a dedicated “mobile site” then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

However. If you site is old, built on a static template and does not resize for mobile devices then your ranking in mobile search results is in trouble as from 21 April.

This is particularly worrying if your website is currently responsible from driving sales, leads and enquiries from mobile searches.

What can you do to become mobile friendly?

With the vast amount of people using their mobile phone to browse the web, find local services and buy online it would be unwise to simply ignore this latest Google announcement.

To retain and build competitiveness in the mobile market it’s time to make a change. Converting to a mobile friendly website is the only option to stay ahead.

First take Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.

If your site is “Awesome” you’re in the clear.

If not, you need to take action.

Speak to us to find out how we can convert your website into one that fulfills Google’s mobile friendly criteria.  Call 01628 762710.

Nicola Brown

SEO, Social and Content are Nicola's thing. With a desire to understand what makes people tick and click on-line she applies this knowledge to digital marketing strategies that have user experience firmly at their heart.

Nicola BrownIs Your Website Ready For The Google Mobile Friendly Update