Google’s New Mobile Ranking

Nick Comber, our Compliance Officer, cuts through the noise and explains what Google’s change really means and what you need to do.

What’s this all about?

Google announced last month that from 21st April they’d be using mobile ‘friendliness’ as a ranking signal on their search algorithm. This is set to significantly affect search results on mobile devices worldwide. Put simply, Google will favour websites that are mobile-friendly in their organic rankings and penalise websites that are not.

What does it mean for me?

It means if your website isn’t properly mobile optimised, you may notice a marked decline in your organic ranking on Google from mobile devices, and hence you may find that your traffic is negatively affected. Likewise, you may find that if your website is properly mobile optimised, your organic ranking for searches from mobile devices improves, meaning greater traffic and improved conversion rates. In short, you need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly, otherwise you might get quite a nasty surprise on 21st April!

What should I do right now?

You need to ensure your websites are mobile-friendly in preparation for the algorithm change in order to avoid ranking penalties. Key questions to ask yourself are:
• Does my site require me to “finger pinch” to make the text legible?
• Have I got the right tags implemented (viewport)?
• Is it too easy to click on the wrong link because the links are too close together?
• Can I see all the content on my device or does it get cut off some at the sides?
If you’re not sure if you meet Google’s requirements, they’ve provided a handy tool which analyses your website’s mobile-friendliness. Click here to check it out.

And how are things set to change long term?

It’s no secret that mobile traffic is on the up. Sales on mobile devices has been seen to hit 40% for some retailers. With that figure growing at around 8% each year it’s important that everyone relying on making and driving online sales considers mobile traffic as a primary goal rather than a bonus.

It’s also interesting to note that Google will be serving different SERPs on mobile to desktop so we’re going to be looking at device-specific results. If this proves unpopular with users, Google may roll out their mobile-friendly SERPs on desktop too which is going to amplify the impact of this even more.

It is simply a matter of time before mobile sales in some sectors begin to outweigh desktop sales – indeed this may already be happening in some niches. Mobile optimisation is no longer an added benefit, it is an absolute necessity.

Do you need any assistance or have any questions on mobile-friendliness? We’re always happy to help.