Google has announced that on April 21st, 2015 they are making a major update to their mobile search algorithm that will use mobile optimization as a ranking signal. This will result in more mobile friendly sites showing up in mobile search results. According to Google, this “will have a significant impact in our search results”. It’s not often that Google confirms elements of their algorithm that impact search results, so this is kind of a big deal. Is your site ready?
How the Google Mobile Update Could Impact Your Traffic
If your site is mobile friendly – either designed to be responsive on all devices or you have a specific mobile version of your site (i.e. m.domain.com) – you could see a boost in organic traffic from mobile searches if your competitors don’t have mobile friendly sites.
If your site is not mobile friendly, you could see a decrease in organic traffic from mobile searches if your competitors have mobile friendly sites.
Is Your Site Mobile Friendly? Use this Test to Find Out
Google has created a guide for mobile friendly websites, which includes an easy mobile friendly test where you simply enter your domain and it will crawl your site to see if it’s mobile friendly. It will show you how Google sees your page when they crawl it, and let you know if it’s mobile friendly or not. If not, they will provide reasons why. Common issues are:
- Text too small to read
- Links too close together
- Mobile viewport not set
- Uses incompatible plugins
- Blocked resources
Google also provides a mobile usability tool in their webmaster tools program that shows you which pages on your site have mobile usability issues, and the specific errors for each page.
Why Your Site Should Be Mobile Friendly
- More Traffic. More and more people are using their phones and tablets to access the internet, and more searches will be done on mobile devices in 2015 than on desktop, especially for local results. As a result, more and more traffic to your site will come from mobile. Over the last year our clients have seen a +100% increase in mobile traffic after their sites were made responsive. After Google’s April 21st algorithm update, this will only increase for sites that are mobile friendly.
- Better User Experience. We’ve all experienced it. You’re on your phone and you land on a site that isn’t mobile friendly. You have to expand the viewport so you can see the tiny text, drag the screen left and right so you can see all the content, and then you bounce. Is this the experience you want your visitors to have? Google doesn’t, and is already notifying mobile searchers if a site is mobile friendly or not in the search results. If a site is mobile friendly, they include a “mobile friendly” annotation in the search results. If not, they include a red “not mobile friendly” annotation. Do not give your visitors a reason to click on your competitor’s site because they are mobile friendly and you’re not.
- More Conversions. At the end of the day, it’s all about conversions. Whatever the action is you want people to take on your site, it’s much more likely they will complete it from a mobile device if your site is mobile friendly.
We recommend making your site responsive to all devices, rather than creating a separate mobile site. The benefit is that you don’t have to maintain and update two different versions of your site, and responsive is more cost effective.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly, we can help. It’s an affordable process that in most cases will pay for itself in increased traffic and conversions. In our experience, 85% of client sites have been made responsive for $1,000 – $3,000, which will address the major factors in making a site mobile friendly.