Google’s “Mobile Friendly” Update

Are you reading this on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC?

What device do you typically use to surf the internet, whether it’s Googling the cast list for that film you watched last week or browsing through online clothing stores?

For several years we have known that, at some point in the near future, mobile will surpass desktop when it comes to internet usage. We have already seen mobile surpass desktop for visits to retail websites in September 2014, so how long is it before we see the same
with organic search traffic and paid clicks?

With the use of phones and tablets on the rise, Google’s Algorithm’s obviously needed to adapt. They didn’t want the increasingly large chunk of their searches, that are being performed via mobile, coming back with a first page of results that are difficult to read and contain buttons too small to push with your finger.

Therefore, as of April 21st 2015, mobile-friendliness will be used as a ranking factor in Google search results. This means that if your website becomes a mess when opened on an iPhone, it will be penalised.

As it says on Google’s Webmaster Central blog:

“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.”

So what can you do to make sure your website is optimized for mobile?

Well the obvious thing to do is to visit your website on your mobile. How does it look? Is navigating around easy? Are the buttons on your screen too small to tap? Did it take a long time to load? You can get an idea of how mobile-friendly your website is just by testing it yourself and making appropriate changes.

There are other ways of testing, for example Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. Simply type in your website URL, click ‘Analyze’ and it will tell you whether your website is mobile-friendly or not.

Google also has a PageSpeed Insight Tool that gives you separate summaries for Mobile and Desktop. Again, type in your website URL and click ‘Analyze’. The results will also tell you how to fix any page-speed or user-experience issues.

Whether you rely on it for direct sales or content marketing, traffic from Google has become something of a necessity for online success in recent years. Make sure you are prepared for the algorithm update so that your website doesn’t get penalised.