If you’ve been putting off making your website responsive or mobile friendly, the time has come to jump on the bandwagon. As of April 21, Google started taking mobile-friendliness as a factor for search rankings, making it more important than ever to have a mobile-friendly website.
Google has been promoting the need for mobile-friendly websites for a few years, and now the company is giving you even more reasons to go mobile. Google’s latest algorithm update is designed to have a noticeable impact on mobile search results, improving the rankings for websites that are mobile friendly. There are a few things to note about this recent change: 1) The algorithm affects the mobile search results, e.g., searches made on smartphones and tablets, not those made on a desktop or laptop, and 2) it is being applied page-by-page in real time.
What does this mean for your website? While mobile Internet alone is not dominating web usage, the percentage of searches made on a mobile phone or tablet is only growing larger, and the majority of consumers are already “multiscreening,” according to research from comScore. As far as the page-by-page application goes, this means that every single page of your website will be judge on its mobile friendliness separately, which is good news for any website that only has a few pages that are “unfriendly” for viewing on a mobile devise. Your website’s mobile-friendly pages will rank higher, but those pages that are not won’t sink your entire website’s SEO.
For websites that are already mobile friendly, the real time application of Google’s new algorithm means your website is already reaping the benefits from the new mobile-friendly ranking. Unfortunately the real time application is a double-edged sword. While it allowed existing mobile-friendly websites to enjoy the update immediately, websites that are updated for mobile friendliness after April 21 will have to wait until after the next time the website is crawled for the benefits to kick in.
Furthermore, while Google has been very open about its preference for responsive website design, the new search algorithm doesn’t give SEO preference to responsive websites over a dedicated mobile website. A responsive design (one that is optimal for viewing on both a computer monitor and web-enabled mobile devise), mobile or dynamic serving or a dedicated mobile website are all considered acceptable options, as long as it is done correctly. The important part to Google, at least for the time being, is that your website is able to provide a good user experience for those viewing it on a mobile device.
Want to learn more about mobile-friendly website ranking or test the mobile friendliness of your current website? Visit the official Google blog.