How Being Mobile Friendly Can Help Your Rankings in the Search Engines
One of the most important factors to your online and off-line sales are your rankings in the search engine results. You already understand that ranking on the first page of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), dramatically increases your traffic and conversions – that’s why we use SEO to help increase our rankings.
The problem is that Google keeps changing the rules and introducing new ranking algorithm updates. This means that we have to stay on top of these changes, to ensure that we maintain or increase our rankings.
Google introduces a mobile-friendly factor into its algorithm
Due to the massive upsurge in people accessing the internet on their mobile devices, Google is now concerned that many websites do not display well on mobile devices. So they are about to include this as a perquisite in their ranking formula.
This means that by April 21st 2015, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you could very possibly lose rankings in the SERPs, because Google will be actively promoting sites that are mobile-friendly. These changes only apply to searches that originate from mobile devices however, not from PCs or laptops, but this is still a large number of searches.
Google’s new update will be rolled out worldwide and each page of your website will be assessed by Google. This is good news if only a few of your pages are not mobile-friendly, as your mobile-friendly pages will not lose rankings, but could actually increase in the SERPs.
The update is also in real-time, which means that as soon the Google bots crawl your website and find pages that are mobile-friendly, they will promote these pages over similar pages that are not mobile friendly.
What do these changes mean for your website?
You might have already noticed that Google highlights whether or not web pages are mobile-friendly by including the term ‘Mobile-friendly’ in the search results, but it has so far not altered the rankings of these sites. From this April onwards however, Google will start to rank web pages based on whether or not they are considered to be mobile-friendly.
Currently, we don’t know exactly how these changes will affect rankings, maybe Google will only present mobile-friendly pages on page 1? We don’t really know yet, but making your site mobile-friendly is clearly important to your future rankings.
We also assume that if people search for specific brands, that mobile-friendly or not, Google will present the site you have requested, but there is no way to be sure until the changes come into effect.
What can you do to make your site mobile friendly?
First of all, check each of your web pages using Google’s mobile-friendly test. This will tell you whether a page is mobile-friendly or not and give you suggestions on how to fix the problems. Some of these may be easy to fix and others might require an entire redesign of your website. If you decide to do nothing, then the worst that will happen is that you will lose all organic traffic from mobile devices.
If this organic traffic is only a small part of your overall traffic then you might decide that it is worth the risk. What you can do is to use your Web Master Tools and access how much traffic you will potentially lose from mobile searches and then decide whether or not this is important to your bottom line.
As a last point, just because you might not have much organic traffic from mobile devices today, does not mean that this percentage might not dramatically increase in the future. So from this point of view, it might be worthwhile becoming mobile-friendly – especially if your competition loses rankings in the SERPs – a great way to win market share.
Co-founder of Cornerstone and web junkie, Michael knows just how to diagnose your online problems and remedy the issue. An online enthusiast who believes in technology as an enabler of growth, Michael worries about all the details so you don't have to.