Just a quick heads up folks; Google is allegedly (almost certainly) going to update the way their search algorithm explores, indexes and ranks mobile sites tomorrow (April 21st) and we thought we’d give you a quick overview of what it might (or might not) mean for you and your business.
Ignore mobile at your peril…
Amongst our client base we’ve seen a consistent, and sometimes even meteoric rise in mobile views over the past couple of years. It has reached such significant numbers that for clients who do not have a responsive website design (a website that automatically resizes itself to the size of the display being used; phone, tablet etc) or even a mobile subdomain (m.domain.co.uk) version of their website we are strongly recommending that they invest in a mobile solution so they’re not missing out on all the potential visits, leads and sales that a mobile focused search and conversion strategy would undoubtedly bring them.
This isn’t a local trend;
Knowing this Google have been pretty hot in in the last few years in terms of identifying mobile friendly sites and it seems fairly conclusive that sites with an ‘m.domain.co.uk’ sub domain have had the edge in terms of rankings on mobile devices. Along with Google’s push towards prioritising site performance and speed and making it a ranking factor (specifically for desktop in 2010 and then mobile in 2013) we’ve seen very specific search results delivered to mobile users.
What is Google after?
As ever, Google will tell you it wants to improve the search experience for it’s users (and it won’t tell you that it wants to make more money, but it does, obviously) and with a growing mobile user base tomorrow’s update is all about giving mobile users a better set of search results.
Google’s push towards user intent (hummingbird) style results means that there may well be a fundamental change to the way mobile sites are indexed and ranked. One strong possibility is that Google will unleash a mobile specific robot charged with uncovering and indexing responsive content and mobile apps and creating a spangly new mobile only index that doesn’t put any more strain in the burgeoning desktop centric index.
Google gave us some hints at the SMX search expo recently, suggesting that if your mobile presence isn’t up to scratch this won’t affect your regular, full fat search results, so don’t panic about that, but if you ARE search ready then you’ll almost certainly see some ranking benefits – good eh?
But how do you know if you’re ready?
You should start here: Google’s mobile friendliness tool.
This will give you a good old fashioned YES or NO that you can work from along with some templated suggestions that you can take back to your digital agency or webmaster or the attic you work from and get cracking with. Google also hinted that a responsive design is the preferred mobile solution ahead of a mobile sub domain or mobile ‘version’ of your main site.
Faster than a speeding bullet
Google likes a quick website and speeding up your website can have a positive effect on traffic. This is also true for mobile; the better your performance, the more traffic you’ll get. Start with Google’s speed insights and see where you’re at.
I highly recommend Billy Hoffman’s guide to speeding up your mobile website over on the Moz blog, check it out for some mega tips
What you need to take away from this:
- You don’t need to panic but you do need to plan ahead.
- Your target audience are increasingly using mobile platforms, it isn’t going away so don’t ignore their experience.
- Google is going to reward websites that provide a user focused mobile option and a fast, responsive design is best.