In an unprecedented move from the masters of secrecy, Google has revealed that they will be changing their algorithm on April 21st to give increased weight to websites that are mobile-friendly.
It’s crunch time for websites. Google is forcing your hand by using mobile-friendliness to inform ranking, which threatens websites with loss of traffic and a lower ranking if they are not optimised for small screens. Mobility is no longer just about making your website flashy and tech-savvy, it’s become a standard that needs to be met across the board so websites remain relevant in the eyes of the world’s number one search engine.
Why Google, why?
With more people accessing the internet on their mobiles than on desktop computers, Google needs to keep up with the times and respond to the users’ demands. When users try and access a website that is not mobile-friendly they must scroll left to right, and up and down to view all the content, and if they want to call numbers on the website by clicking on them — forget about it! By favouring mobile-friendly websites, Google will make it easier for browsers to locate and access relevant, high quality information from any device that their heart desires, thereby significantly reducing the stress levels of countless browsers around the world.
What is Mobile-Friendly Anyway?
Being mobile-friendly is not as foreign a concept as you might imagine. It simply means that a website has been designed, developed and optimised to give browsers the best possible user experience on any device that they use. You can tell if a website is mobile-friendly if:
•The design has been simplified by reducing the number or size of pictures
•Browsers can click-to-call contact numbers
•Content is laid out deliberately for the small screen
•There are large call-to-actions
•Maps are linked to the device’s imbedded map
It’s best to be alert not alarmed, so do your homework before April 21st to find out whether your website meets Google’s mobile-friendly standards. Taking Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a great way to see where you stand, or check out your site’s Mobile Usability Report in Webmaster Tools.
If you find that your website is not quite up to scratch then there are two plans of attack that you can put into action.
Create a mobile website
As you can probably guess, a mobile website is a site that has been specifically designed to be compatible with small screens. It is easy to navigate with a reduced amount of content and the pictures are smaller in number and size so the user doesn’t expend as much bandwidth or data downloading them.
Create a responsive website
A responsive website is a single site that can be used on any device. It has a fluid layout so the size and arrangement of content changes to suit the particular device which results in a format that is easy to read and navigate.
Hop to it!
If making your website mobile-friendly has been sitting at the bottom of your to-do list for the last couple of years, then it’s time to bump that baby to the top! Contact us to find out how to make your website more mobile-friendly so you can dodge Google’s latest curve ball.