Well, it happened. On April 21, Google made a major update to its mobile search algorithm that favors mobile-friendly websites. In other words, “mobile friendliness” is now playing a more prominent role in the way websites are ranked, and sites that are not optimized for mobile use will appear lower on Google search pages. It’s an effort to ensure users find quality results when clicking on top search links, and considering over 60% of searches are done on a mobile device, it makes a lot of sense. Encouraging website owners to make their sites work well on mobile devices not only makes mobile users happy, it also secures Google’s position as a useful service in the mobile age. Almost two decades ago we were told that when it comes to the internet, content is king, so I guess this makes usability queen.
Great for consumers, but what about businesses?
With mobile Google searches on the rise, businesses without mobile-friendly sites can expect to see a drop in site visits. This is especially true for smaller businesses that rely heavily on local traffic. However, if you’re a business that already accommodates mobile customers, this update could increase your search ranking relative to competitors who are not mobile-friendly.
Figuring out the specific repercussions of the new algorithm can be a bit overwhelming, so here are a few key facts:
- Desktop and tablet rankings will not be affected if your site is not mobile-friendly. The update only applies to searches made on mobile devices.
- The new ranking is applied to individual pages, so a single mobile-friendly page will not positively impact an entire site. Just the mobile-friendly page will receive a higher ranking.
- Sites will receive the same boost whether they are using responsive web design or separate mobile URLs. However, Google may have more trouble properly indexing mobile pages using a separate URL.
How do I know if my site is mobile-friendly?
Google defines “mobile-friendly” as a site where text is readable without zooming, buttons are sufficiently spaced and easy to tap, and the page avoids horizontal scrolling. If you’re still not sure where your site stands, individual pages can be checked using Google’s mobile-friendly test.
Still have questions? Check out Google’s FAQs on the update here. We can also help you improve the usability of your current website design or start fresh with a new fully custom AND mobile-friendly responsive website. Contact us to learn more about your options.