Blog 53

Hayley

From the 21st April 2015 Google will be further penalising websites that are not mobile friendly.

"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".

In other words...when users carry out a search in Google, the more relevant content which is optimised for the user’s device, be it mobile, tablet or desktop, will appear higher up in results than that which isn't optimised.

This post aims to identify:

  1. How this change can affect your business
  2. 4 things to think about
  3. What is Google really looking for?

How this change can affect your business

When someone searches for relevant words to your business, you ultimately want to be appearing in 1st position or at least appearing on the first page. With Google separating desktop from mobile search results, you have to work twice as hard to win your Google presence.

According to the Chitika study, the top listing in Google's organic search results receives 33 percent of the traffic, compared to 18 percent for the second position, and the traffic continues to degrade from there. With such promising stats it should be every business’ ultimate aim  to improve their search results.

search results positioning graph

A company that ranks highly in Google from a desktop perspective may now face major competition from companies who are already delivering content in a mobile-friendly way.

This change does NOT mean that if you instantly embrace a mobile friendly solution you will rank higher than your competitors, but it does mean you are in a much stronger position for building on your mobile rankings.

If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, it’s time to act.

Whilst affecting all websites to some extent, this change will be more significant to those that have a lot of competition in their industries.

4 things to think about

Although Google have announced the change will be taking place on the 21st April, the scale of its effect is not yet clear, as Google already have mobile friendliness as a ranking signal and announced that this will only be ‘expanding’.

  • Don’t panic and start planning. Take a look at your business and make logical actions based on your overall business's position. If you're a small website and haven’t considered becoming mobile-friendly, you should probably make a start.
  • If you are a medium/large website with lots of traffic to your website and have not yet sorted out the mobile side of things yet, it’s a good time to get some plans and timescales into action.
  • Although Google will be rewarding websites that are mobile friendly, this does not mean they will not be taking into consideration other factors such as;
    • Time spent on site
    • Keyword usage
    • Site structure
    • Site speed
    • Time spent on site
    • Number of inbound links
    • Quality of inbound link

What is Google really looking for?

In simple terms, Google wants your website to be tailored to the device which is viewing it.  This can be achieved through various ways including:

Mobile website

  • A mobile website is fully optimised for mobile devices and is often used by popular e-commerce companies because of its shorter conversion process. (E.g. A user may only have to perform 2 clicks on a mobile to purchase an item in comparison to 4 clicks on a website. However, having separate websites can dilute your search optimisation efforts and reduce ranking performance.

Adaptive website

  • An adaptive website will adapt to a specific device and only show content based on a specific device. Each device-type will have its own tailored viewing experience and this is something Google has embraced extremely well. It can be more expensive, but definitely provides the best user experience since the content is specifically tailored to every supported device.

Responsive website

  • This is often recognised as a more cost effective solution with lower development costs as it avoids making separate sites. Instead of creating multiple websites for specific devices, the content adjusts according to a device’s screen size,optimising and reordering the layout accordingly. Because it’s the same website being viewed by all visitors and devices, any SEO activities can be concentrated on that one website. Responsive websites are common across brand awareness focused websites that do not focus on immediate online purchases. For example, restaurants and agencies.

Here’s an example of Degree 53's responsive website

. Examples of a website that is responsive across a desktop, mobile and tablet device

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