Mobile-Friendly Now a Ranking Factor
It wasn’t that long ago that I urged you to stop what you’re doing and check how your website looks on your smartphone.
Yesterday Google announced that as of April 21st, it will use mobile usability as a ranking factor in mobile search results. So if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site and your competitors do, they owe you a thank you card for all the extra traffic and leads you’re about to send them.
Check out Google’s announcement for yourself:
“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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
If your business has an app, Google also said it’s planning on improving rankings for indexed app content. I don’t think this is exactly a reason to go out and drop a few grand to have an app developed (especially if you’re a small business with a limited advertising budget), but I guess I could be eating my words a few months from now.
“Starting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.”
A Few More Reasons to Go Mobile (As If You Need Them)
If you’re thinking “at least my non-mobile-friendly website will still rank well in desktop search,” I beg you to ask yourself who in the hell still performs desktop searches? In 2014, the number of mobile searches performed officially surpassed the number of desktop searches performed. That’s an awful lot of traffic that you’d be crazy to be willing to give up.
And if someone does find your site on their phone (maybe they already know about you or click a link from Facebook or Twitter), don’t you want them to have a good user experience once they get there? Unreadable text and impossible navigation aren’t my favorite, and they probably aren’t your prospective customers’ favorite either.
Finally, I think it’s worth noting that for many companies, a good mobile website can increase conversions. I recently attended a Google Partners’ event where Google AdWords Evangelist Fred Vallaeys discussed the importance of designing for mobile. He referenced a company called PlusNet that not only saw a decrease in the time it took for visitors to convert but also a 1,000% increase in mobile conversions.
How to Tell if Your Website Will Pass Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
Google has a tool that allows you to test if your site is mobile-friendly. If Google determines your site is NOT mobile-friendly, it will give you the reasons why and also show you how the Google bot sees your site. Here’s an example of our mobile site vs. our desktop site:
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