Winter is coming! Well actually change is coming but it will be no less dramatic than an episode of Game of Thrones. On April 21st Google will be rolling out a major new update to its mobile search algorithm. This change is going to have a major impact of the displayed ranking of sites when users search via a mobile device like phone or tablet.
What exactly is this change? Google told us back in February that we should expect the algorithm to start favouring mobile-friendly web pages. Google helpfully defines what it calls mobile-friendly as:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
Its always great to see User Experience especially in mobile pushed hard like this as we all want to have amazing online experience especially on our smartphones or tablets, but it does have consequences. If Google is going to favour mobile-friendly pages then what can we expect to happen to pages that aren’t mobile-friendly? Well the short answer is that they will drop down in the rankings. A quick check of your sites analytics will show you that a large portion of your web traffic comes from mobile, now consider that you may lose a lot of this traffic as of the 21st April. Not great is it!
You’d be surprised how many business this will hit, even today I still find lots of non mobile-friendly websites out there, and its not just small businesses.
So what can you do to stay top of the rankings or move ahead of your competitors? Well here are some handy tips to get your started on your mobile transformation:
- Check your pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test
- Read our updated documentation on our Webmasters Mobile Guide on how to create and improve your mobile site
- See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page
- Check our how-to guide for third-party software like WordPress or Joomla, in order to migrate your website hosted on a CMS (Content Management System) to use a mobile-friendly template
You can also talk to us @ IBM Interactive Experience where we have Mobile User Experience experts that can your business achieve mobile excellence and stay one step ahead of the crowd.