Because Google says so.
That’s the short answer!
Beginning April 21 Google will be changing its algorithm to include mobile responsiveness as part of its ranking criteria. According to Google’s official stance, your ranking won’t be penalized if it is not mobile-optimized, but websites that are optimized for mobile will be given a “favored” status.
Web development companies have been sounding the call toward mobile responsiveness for some time now. Ryan Allen, founder of nDigit, notes: “On April 21st, Google will be implementing what some have called “Mobilegeddon”. Websites with mobile optimized websites will be given preference in the search rankings. Those still behind the curve will slowly start to notice their traffic dwindle down.”
“With 73% of Americans (176 million people) owning a smartphone, this is a key demographic companies can’t afford to miss out on.On April 21st, Google will be implementing what some have called “Mobilegeddon”. Websites with mobile optimized websites will be given preference in the search rankings. Those still behind the curve will slowly start to notice their traffic dwindle down.
Making Your Site Mobile Friendly is not Optional. You have a deadline.
As usual with Google’s algorithm changes, there are some solid reasons why this is a good move for both B2C and B2B organizations.
- According to GoDaddy, 50% of shoppers prefer to use their phone while shopping in a brick and mortar store. They are comparing prices on the go, reading reviews and connecting with their social media network about their potential purchase. Mobile optimization allows you to be part of that conversation.
- Consumers will have a better experience deriving quality information from their search results, as they will be directed to mobile-friendly sites more frequently.
- There will be a slight noise reduction in the mobile internet experience. Older website which may have ranked well for one reason or another but are now largely inactive will drop in the rankings, allowing well-maintained websites and companies to rise in prominence. Google is shaking the salt shaker of search results, which means there is an opportunity for agile organizations. “This could dramatically change search results in some cases,” said Dan Olds, an analyst for the Gabriel Consulting Group in Computer World. “It might allow a mobile-optimized second-tier player to get a jump on larger competitors who have not configured their site for mobile yet. We’ll probably hear about specific cases as the new algorithm comes into broad usage.”
- While this particular search algorithm change shouldn’t affect non-mobile websites, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the mobile market. “With 73% of Americans (176 million people) owning a smartphone, this is a key demographic companies can’t afford to miss out on,” says Allen. This is Google’s way of paving the path ahead and incentivizing website owners to make the changes needed now. There are some rumors in the industry of an altogether new website crawler that will make a greater impact on search results and the way our content is crawled and served up, so meeting Google’s benchmarks now makes perfect sense. Do what it takes.
How to Tell If Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
There are two very quick and easy tests to perform on your website to ensure you are in compliance with Google’s recommendations.
First, open your website in your browser and resize the browser. If the content resizes with you, chances are very good that you are already mobile responsive. If the content “crops” itself, and loses forms or information, you may have an issue that needs to be tweaked.
Second, run your website through this test put out by Google itself.
Google has indicated that this is a binary, yes or no decision process. So if you pass this mobile-friendly test, you should be good to go.
Now all we need to do is sit back and watch how this shakeup affects search rankings. Over the next few weeks pay extra-close attention to your rankings, traffic counts and other measures of engagement. If you are working with a marketing agency, check in with them to make sure they will monitor your marketing analytics for you. If you find a dip in your analytics and traffic, act quickly to fix any problems you find and get Google to re-crawl your pages. And as always, create compelling content frequently to ensure a high ranking during this turbulent period.