In 2014, data revealed that 30 percent of all searches came from a mobile device. So far, in 2015, this number has increased to over 60 percent. In response, on April 21st, Google modified its search algorithm to promptly reward sites that are mobile optimized.
So, now what?
This is one change all owners of websites should take seriously! A site’s “mobile friendliness” will now play a key role in the way it is ranked; and sites that are not mobile optimized will appear lower on Google’s search pages.
The new algorithm will scan each page on the site, checking for load times and responsive design elements. The main things to keep in mind are using text sizes that are readable without zooming; content that fits the screen so scrolling and zooming aren’t necessary; and spacing links so tapping the right one isn’t tough for users. What this means is that as different pages become mobile friendly, they can start to benefit from the SEO boost offered by this update.
Along with the above, in order to qualify as “mobile-friendly,” a website has to meet the following criteria:
- 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
Google began tagging these results in 2014 to indicate if a page might not work on a mobile device.
Not ready for a major website overhaul?
No worries; start small – focus on your homepage and commonly used areas of the site. In the long term, responsive web design and having a site that adapts easily to a mobile or tablet environment will be crucial.
One of the best ways to prepare is to first see if Google considers your web pages to be mobile-friendly through its Mobile-Friendly Test tool. This will give you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on a per page basis. Google has been clear that Mobile-Friendly test results are binary; meaning that your page is either mobile-friendly or it is not.
Do let me be perfectly clear – this will ONLY impact your mobile rankings. However, keep in mind that with mobile search growing at 10x the rate of desktop, businesses that don’t have mobile ready site stand to lose up to one-third of their traffic.