How Google’s “Mobile-Friendly” Changes May Affect Your Business and Website
Google recently announced a pretty significant change to how they will display, and possibly even rank, search results for people using mobile devices.
In an update titled “Helping users find mobile-friendly pages”, Google explains the problem that many people have when conducting a search on a mobile device:
“Have you ever tapped on a Google Search result on your mobile phone, only to find yourself looking at a page where the text was too small, the links were tiny, and you had to scroll sideways to see all the content? This usually happens when the website has not been optimized to be viewed on a mobile phone.”
The article continues with:
“This can be a frustrating experience for our mobile searchers. Starting today, to make it easier for people to find the information that they’re looking for, we’re adding a “mobile-friendly” label to our mobile search results.”
In the screen cap below, you can see an example of this “mobile-friendly” label on the page result for Envision Technology Advisors.
This new label is so much more than a nice badge to have accompanying your listing. With more and more people using mobile devices for online activities, including search, this label could mean the difference between a customer viewing your site versus a competitors. If you were conducting a search on a mobile phone and you saw two listings, one labeled “mobile-friendly” and another missing this designation, which one would you choose to view?
Additionally, Google’s update goes on to say the following:
“We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.”
What this means is that, in the future, Google is also looking to use “mobile-friendly” as part of their ranking criteria. I can personally see a day where Google delivers ONLY mobile-friendly results to visitors on mobile devices. With global Internet usage climbing to over 50% coming from mobile-devices, this could mean that if your site is not mobile-friendly, it could essentially be invisible to searchers using Google on a phone or other mobile device. This could be an absolute game changer for companies and organizations that have optimized their site for mobile versus those who have neglected to take this important step.
So how do you discover if your site is mobile-friendly? Besides running a Google search on a smartphone to see if the label is present, you can also use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
If your site is not mobile-friendly, what are the steps you should take to rectify this issue? Envision recommends an approach called “responsive web design” for multi-device support. Google also recommends this approach and has done so for years.
In the simplest terms, a responsive website will allow you to have one website to manage and market and that single site will be optimized for the widest range of screen sizes and devices possible, from smartphones, to tablets, to laptops, to desktops and more.
For more information on responsive websites and how Envision can help your website become mobile-friendly, contact us to speak about your specific website and any questions you may have.