Google May Soon Penalize Non-Mobile Friendly Sites: Are You Ready?
Search Engine Optimization
Have you thought about making your site more mobile and tablet friendly? If you are still on the fence, Google’s latest mobile feature might have you thinking long and hard. The company’s latest attempts to take action against non-mobile friendly websites or those that are not properly optimized for smartphones and tablets continues on and might end up greatly affecting the way your website is ranked on mobile search engine rankings.
Here is a timeline of what has happened so far:
Sept 30: Google began testing mobile-friendly icons. These icons are little green mobile icons that appear next to sites that are mobile-friendly in mobile search engine results. This not only allows users to find sites with the content they are searching for, but lead them to sites that are more mobile friendly and easy to navigate via a mobile device.
Oct 13: Then, a few weeks later, Google switched it up and started displaying non-mobile friendly icons. These were gray mobile icons with a “slash” indicating that a site was not friendly to use on mobile devices.
Oct 14: A third change was witnessed a day later. Sites that were indeed mobile friendly appeared in mobile search results labeled with “Mobile Friendly” text underneath the website link.
What’s with all the testing?
Although Google has an obvious objective, the Big G hasn’t made a decision on what it will use to indicate whether or not a website is mobile friendly. Very soon, a non-mobile-friendly website will be easy to spot and what’s worse, the change might cause the site to rank lower in search results.
Mobile device usage has steadily increased over the last decade. As of 2014, 90% of American adults have a cell phone; 58% of those adults have a smartphone (Pew Research).70% of mobile browser searches lead to action within an hour – 40% are on tablets and 60% are one smartphones (iAcquire). 25% of adults only use a mobile device to access the (iMedia Connection).
Being ranked well in organic search results has never been more important. One-third of search result clicks go to the top organic result. The Google mobile icons testing could have a much stronger effect on websites that are not optimized for mobile.
As these and other stats will tell you, even though brands may be getting steady website traffic and high conversion rates, Google is always experimenting. What may work now may not work in the next several months. Businesses and organizations must consider a mobile optimized website in order to stay competitive.
How to Get Mobile Optimized
Are you ready to get mobile optimized? The process isn’t as complicated as you may think. Here are a few recommendations Small Screen Producer has for getting started on mobile.
Keep it Simple & Consistent
Mobile users are on the go and do not necessarily want to sift through the extra “fluff”. These users are looking for only the essential information to get them where they need to go. Keep essential information visible and handy for users by adding big buttons and call-to-actions to contact you or connect on social media. Also breaking up text into short, small blocks of text make it easier to read on a smaller device.
In order for users to find and recognize your brand, no matter what device they are using, make sure branding elements such as colors, themes, images, logos, and web copy match on your desktop website and your mobile website.
Consider Going Responsive
What Google highly recommends is having a responsive website. Responsive web design automatically adjusts to conform to different screen sizes (mobile, desktop, or tablet) without having to have a separate, dedicated mobile site. A responsive website will create an optimal experience for users, making text larger, adding call-to-action buttons, resizing images automatically. The content a user will see on a mobile device will be the exact same as on a desktop or tablet device. This creates a consistent look and message that extends across all platforms.
Go for a Mobile Layout
Not ready for get rid of your current site? At the very least, consider getting a dedicated mobile site or app that would make it easier for your customers. Dedicated mobile sites are mini websites that only mobile users can access on mobile devices. These sites contain modified options of your current site but are a separate entity. A dedicated mobile site will need to be edited separately from a desktop website every time changes need to be made in order to maintain consistency. Mobile redirects can be placed on your current site to automatically redirect users to your dedicated mobile site if and when they are access it through a mobile device. This simple change ensures that Google continues to consider your website as “mobile friendly”.