Google is giving preference to mobile-friendly websites. What does this mean?
April 21st 2015
Google is launching a change in its algorithm that will ultimately rank sites that are mobile friendly, or “responsive”, higher in search results than older, “conventional” websites. Could this be a “mobilegeddon”, as some are calling it on social media? I don’t think so.
What is a mobile friendly website anyway?
A website that has an adaptive design that looks different on a smartphone, iPhone, or any other mobile device than it looks on a computer screen. It responds to different kinds of screen; thus it is called “responsive”. On the other hand, the “conventional” websites are the ones that look the same on the computer and on mobile devices, and that may be problematic. We’ve all had the awkward experience of trying to view a non-responsive webpage on our mobile phone: the text looks too small, you can’t view the whole page, you have to “zoom in” into different parts of the page, etc. Most times you will give up trying and just leave the site.
Google’s algorithm change doesn’t come as a surprise. The trend to move from conventional to responsive websites has been going on for a few years already. The main reason is reflected in a 2014 Comscore report: mobile platforms account for nearly 60% of all digital media time. Simply put, if your website is not responsive, you are losing more than 60% of your potential public.
What should you do?
Google’s announcement is just a natural progression of things. No armageddon here, nothing to be afraid of. Yes, if you don’t have a responsive website, you should do something about it. If you don’t know if your website is mobile friendly, you can use this Mobile-Friendly Test to find out.
According to CNBC, roughly 80% of small businesses don’t have a mobile friendly website. This may sound dramatic, but the truth is that turning your conventional website into a responsive one doesn’t have to be a big expense. There are many low cost options out there, like responsive WordPress templates, or even free responsive options like Wix.com. Google even published a guide to mobile-friendly sites to help website owners to make the change.
So it’s not such a big deal?
Yes and no. On the one hand, changing your website into a responsive one may be not that complicated or costly, but on the other hand, IT IS URGENT. As of April 21, 2015, your conventional non-responsive website has a good chance of not showing up in Google searches when people are looking for products or services like yours. So it’s time to get moving!
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