Is your website mobile friendly? If not, now’s the time to give it some serious thought. Up until recently, having a mobile-friendly website was simply an advantage over your competition. However, this changed last week when Google announced that it’s going to start using mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor:
“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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
This announcement is a game changer for most webmasters and business owners. It’s very unlike Google to provide such specifics about an update that it plans to release. With this being the case, we anticipate this update having a huge impact on mobile search results. Mobile friendly websites will surely be rewarded with better rankings while non-mobile sites will experience a decline in rankings. Exactly how much of an increase or decrease we don’t yet know, but if your website gets a lot of traffic from organic rankings, I don’t think you’re going to want to wait around to find out. After all, 1/4 of all searches are now being done from mobile devices. With several billion searches being completed each day, this adds up to a whole lot of searches that you are not going to want to miss out on!
Where Do I Start?
The first thing you’ll want to do is head over to the Google Webmaster Tools to find out if you’ve received a mobile usability warning from Google. Over the last several weeks, webmasters have been receiving these notifications in preparation for the April 21st update:
But regardless if you've received a notification or not, if you know your website is not mobile-friendly I wouldn't recommend waiting around to receive one.
What Are My Options
There are several options to consider when planning a mobile-friendly website upgrade. From responsive design website templates to 3rd party software extensions, you’ll want to research what will work best for your situation. Of note, Google has stated that its preferred mobile method is responsive web design because it believes this offers a better user experience and it’s less prone to errors than dedicated mobile websites.
Google has published a “Guide to Mobile Friendly Websites” that offers some tools and advice to those needing assistance.
Whether you chose to react to Google’s notice or not, the change is coming on April 21st, 2015. What’s your take? Do you think Google should be displaying different search results for different devices? Or should the results be the same regardless? Let me know in the comments below.