Welp… Google is at it once again. This time in an update being called “Mice” — Starting on April 21, 2015 you can expect to see more mobile-friendly Sites in Google’s Search Results. Previously they had “recommend” certain ways for a website to be coded for mobile friendly use. However, they’d never clearly stated this would be a ranking factor – That has all changed now with Google’s Feb. 26th blog publication here. Google Mice will give high ranking factors to mobile-friendly websites on mobile search results.
According to the latest comScore (@comScore) report on smartphone subscriber market share, 184 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in January 2015, up 4% since October 2014. With the smartphone market now comprising 75.8% of the total mobile subscriber population, marketers cannot afford to ignore mobile-friendly websites.
Why does this matter to you? Google publicly announced, “Starting April 21, 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.”
In other words, if you conduct a quick Google search from your mobile phone and see that it does not say “mobile friendly” beside it in the results, then you have a HUGE issue.
Mobile-friendly SERPs example
Chances are you will fall off the map for any search engine results performed by mobile users. What does this mean? This means that if you website currently has 50% of it traffic coming from mobile users, and you do not have a “mobile friendly” website, then come April 21st you might lose 50% of you traffic.
This is not an over reaction, this is very real and all of the information we are providing is coming directly from Google. When Google gives a date and describes the impact as “significant” one can naturally interpret that to mean they will give nearly any result that is “mobile friendly” a preference over those whom are not.
Mobile friendly is established by Google not the user. So you may look at a website and think it is mobile friendly, but it may not meet Google’s standards. You might have a mobile responsive website but Google does not interpret it as being “mobile friendly”. TEST IT.
Test to see if your website is mobile friendly here.
Mobile Friendly Test
Bring it on, Google! – Time to Prepare for Mobilegeddon
Google may have announced the update early, but it hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with details. In a recent Q&A, Kyle Cassano, Digital Strategist at Sacramento Marketing Labs did share a few details surrounding the four top criteria, as detected by Googlebot when determining the “mobile-friendliness” of a web page. These are listed below:
• Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
• Uses text that is readable without zooming
• Sizes content on 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
Preparing for the Update – Do not Lose your Valuable Cheese (Mobile Traffic)
You need to know the details to this change. You need to know if this will, or will not impact your site and how to deal with this situation BEFORE it happens. With mobile search surpassing desktop search (and rapidly growing) means that the majority of traffic will increasingly come from smartphones and tablets. You cannot afford to ignore mobile users. You cannot afford to ignore Google Mice.
In an introduction to the Google Announcement, they stated, “When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices.
Google has been telling webmasters to prepare for mobile for years, now. If you are a client of ours, your site is most likely already mobile optimized. Thanks to the announcement of the Mobile Search update, many webmasters now have a compelling reason to take action. If you find yourself scrambling to be mobile-friendly and can’t decide between a dedicated mobile or responsive design, it makes sense to weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision.
So which type of website is best for you? If you’re still uncertain, here are the highlights of both types of sites:
Responsive vs. Mobile: Pros & Cons
Responsive Sites: Pros & Cons
• Highly flexible – one responsive website works on all devices, so only one site has to be created and maintained
• This is Google’s recommended configuration
• Can be a better return on investment since most responsive sites won’t need much future maintenance to comply with new browsers
• One URL for all content – makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content. also easier for search engines to discover and index your content
• Streamlined user experience presentation of all content is customized, and device-specific features can still be used
• No redirects – load time is reduced and performance increased
• More expensive upfront cost – requires a lot of planning, especially with e-commerce
• Doesn’t convert as well – e-commerce may require custom coding (non-template / themed site)
Mobile Sites: Pros & Cons
• Can be customized for mobile users
• Should be the most mobile-friendly version of a site
• Easier and cheaper to design
• Recurring maintenance
• Higher costs for updating the content of multiple websites
• May need to be reworked to meet future browsers
The Bottom Line
It truly depends on what your business goals. What do you want people to do when the come to your website? What is your site focused on, and what you need it to do? If you do not ensure that your website is user-friendly, helpful, and relevant you will miss a valuable opportunity to rank in Google organic search, regardless of the website type.
Okay, so what Next? If you have taken the mobile-friendly test and you see that your website is not responsive. I would highly recommend you give us a call: 916-822-2033. We will perform some keyword research to determine where you currently rank for relevant keywords, we will assess your Google Analytics to determine the amount of organic website traffic you currently receive, and we will come with some recommendations on website development and SEO.
Get Started Today before you lose that valuable cheese!