Late last year Google notified webmasters that they were going to start factoring mobile-friendliness into search engine ranking on mobile devices.
The addition of a “mobile-friendly” tag is being implemented to notify users if websites are designed to work well on their device without sacrificing the user experience.
This is a game-changer.
“We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.”
— Google Webmaster Central Blog
Google referred to it as a “first step”.
Google prioritized a better user experience based on the fact that 70% of the U.S. market now carries a smartphone and Nielsen had recently called the shift the “now, the future, and beyond”. The writing is on the wall; mobile-friendliness was no longer optional.
And Now We Have A Specific Date
Rumblings about the next big Google algorithm update have been around since the beginning of the year. The big question has been when is it coming?
At the end of February, Google officially announced that April 21st would be when they started expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, calling it a “significant impact in our search results”.
The use of the term significant is... well... significant. This means that not only will this change affect the mobile landscape when it goes into effect, but that Google’s regular algorithm changes will likely keep expanding upon this idea.
How Will This Affect You And What Should You Do?
We know that search from mobile devices is growing, but visualizing how this will affect websites can be difficult.
An example from one of our clients shows that over a quarter of their current visits in the last month came from mobile. By not addressing this important change from Google, they risk not showing in Google search results on mobile devices.
It isn’t too late. Dooley & Associates has been factoring mobile-friendliness into website design for over two years, but there are still plenty of websites that do not meet the continually evolving criteria on the newest available technology. Now is the perfect opportunity to keep on top of the changes that Google promises will affect your website.
Google has even gone out of their way and been an ally all along. If you aren’t sure that your website satisfies the criteria for a mobile-friendly website according to Google, you can use this tool to test if your website is mobile-friendly.
The Decision Is Up To You
If your website is already optimized for mobile, congratulations, you’re prepared for the next big algorithmic change. If your site still isn’t mobile optimized, it’s time to consider the impact this will have on your business this April. The amount of time being spent on smartphones and tablets is only increasing and letting this opportunity get away means your site will be further behind the curve going forward.