More than a month has passed since Google rolled out on 04/21/2015 a new update for mobile-friendly search algorithm. Up from this date mobile friendly sites had to be ranked higher than unfriendly ones.
So what? Let’s see.
As you could have noticed, there were no strong sanctions towards unfriendly web sites yet. Google’s Webmaster Central Blog presents following about this new update:
- “Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
- Affects search results in all languages globally
- Applies to individual pages, not entire websites” (source)
The Google’s new algorithm just influences mobile search rankings, though not critically as for now. But keeping in mind how carefully Google forms relevant, high quality search results – one thing is sure: They send a signal. Even if your web site had not been downranked your customers would not be happy with a cumbersome, outdated web site and, no doubt, would migrate to mobile friendly services they would find via mobile search.
Ok. What now?
While the aim is obvious – to be in step with 4/5 users who make local searches from their smartphones (and who are active buyers), the new search engine update impacts only mobile search results. Thus, desktop search results remain the same. The rankings still depend on just how much mobile traffic your web site receives. Relevancy is more valuable than friendliness. Therefore, Google has given enough time to develop mobile presence. Unfriendly sites will drop in search ranking slowly and just after that lose consequently mobile traffic (as well as customers).
What can I do?
If we consider that the key playground being affected by Google is the m-commerce, improvement in mobile search rankings could be an opportunity for everybody who looks for location-based customers, i.e., shops, hotels, restaurants etc.
First of all, you can always check your site with Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to see how it complies now with Google’s requirements.
Secondly, you do not have to worry when your site has specific content, it will be still high-ranked. Yet, for e-commerce ranking with its strong competition this point might not sound very optimistic.
Thirdly, you do not have to redesign the whole site, but to make abovementioned changes to conform to existing rules. Google sets up requirements that should make content viewing on mobile devices more comfortable.
Mobile friendly sites should:
- have a plain design in order to accelerate page download speed,
- avoid outdated technologies (like, Flash),faulty redirects, app download interstitials.
- Page layout should adopt to screen size, so that users do not have to zoom or use horizontal scrolling for comfort reading.
- Links should be put far enough to support effortless tapping.
For companies with little mobile web experience Google recommends responsive design (more about design trends read here). Such changes are not expensive but help befriend your site with all types of devices. If you did not plan a redesign you can start from certain, crucial pages like starting page, landing page, contacts, and blog.