Is your website mobile-friendly? As of yesterday, it had better be if you want it to rank higher in the search engines than your competition. Google just implemented sweeping changes to its search algorithm to give mobile-friendly websites a boost on smartphones.
In its mobile search results, Google now favors websites that adjust for smaller screens. If you’re not sure how mobile-friendly your site is, take Google’s mobile-friendly test to see how it scores.
With the explosion in use of mobile devices, Google is responding to market forces already in play and rewarding those designed with the mobile user in mind. As Google’s webmaster team describes it: "As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, we want to make sure they can find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens. Starting 21 April, we’ll use a web page's 'mobile-friendliness' as one of many factors to help rank searches done on mobile devices.”
So what should you do if your site doesn’t pass Google’s “Mobile Friendly Test”?
While there are several choices on how to technically update your site to beat the test, the long-term strategic answer for most businesses is to rebuild your site with responsive design.
Responsive design responds to the needs of the user regardless of the device they’re using. While a website may appear responsive and work for an iPad, for instance, it may not be suited to a smaller device like a phone or watch. A responsive website is a good idea not just because Google is forcing the issue.
Continually adapting customer experience marketing for your own online business goals is critical for reaching and growing an audience which is increasingly tied to their mobile devices.
This is not a fad—it’s a paradigm shift as that market segment continues its considerable year-over-year growth and mobile technologies continue to innovate.
While many brands have already incorporated responsive design into their websites, others are daunted at the immense task of redesigning their websites for mobile devices. This can be especially intimidating for legacy brands with deep content, but it doesn’t have to be painful. If you’ve heard the buzz but aren’t quite sure what means for your brand, Google has published a good primer on responsive web design basics.
Be warned that Google’s new search algorithm may not just affect mobile search rankings. A dip in mobile search rankings can also cause a website to sink in desktop rankings. Your webmaster should closely track performance over the next several weeks to monitor how your site is doing in search rankings.
If you are concerned about the performance of your current website or if you’re interested in responsive design, we can help! From an SEO Audit to a complete website redesign, Alchemy at AMS can give your brand’s mobile audience a great user experience on any device. Contact David Richardson to learn more.
David Richardson is the Client Solutions Director at Alchemy at AMS. He is the most creative person among his friends. A very small, selected group of friends that include Accountants, Security Guards, Air Conditioning Specialists and his babysitter from when he was little.