Don’t Let the Google Mice Steal Your Cheese!
On April 21st, Google will KILL rankings for all websites which are not mobile-friendly.
Our friends at Google are up to their old tricks again. Now, if you are a website owner, you’ve most likely heard of the infamous Penguin and Panda updates. Those two algorithm changes had a MAJOR effect on search results and many websites lost their rankings…and thus their sales. Some small companies even went out of business from it.
According to Google, the update they are releasing on April 21, 2015 will have an even BIGGER IMPACT than Panda or Penguin.
So, what exactly is this update and why does it matter to YOU?
As far as their guidelines concerning the mobile-friendliness of websites, Google has basically stuck to publishing their recommendations, pointing out the most common configuration mistakes they have seen from web designers. That is…until NOW.
Are You Ready?
Your website must be mobile friendly by April 21, 2015 or your site will be penalized by Google.
In the past, Google has never overtly stated that mobile-friendliness would become a ranking factor. They’ve previously treated mobile-friendliness as mostly a usability issue. However, on February 26, 2015 Google announced via its Blog that mobile-friendliness will now become a major ranking signal:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. 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.”
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Label
To put this in practical context, your website needs to carry the mobile-friendly label in mobile search results by their deadline. After April 21, if your site does not carry this label, you will have a serious issue on your hands. Websites which have not been properly configured for mobile devices will virtually disappear from Google searches performed on mobile devices.
More than 50% of internet searches are from MOBILE DEVICES (smartphones)
source: Search Engine Watch
The blunt truth of the matter is, you cannot afford to ignore mobile users. Every single day, more and more people are using mobile search. Websites that fail to carry the mobile-friendly label to show up mobile search results will experience significant and very serious traffic losses. These traffic losses will mean less leads and ultimately less sales. Moreover, it will widen the competition gap between businesses who prepared and those who did not.
This is not an overreaction
This is real. Google is not taking this lightly and neither should you. When Google actually sets and announces a date for rolling out a major algorithm change (which their own rep publicly describes the impact of as “significant”), you’d better believe that they are not playing around. Google is 100% determined to display the most relevant search results possible. To do this, they will include websites that carry the mobile-friendly label in mobile searches and will most likely omit the ones that do not. Alternatively, websites which do not meet their mobile-friendly criteria may be shown in mobile search results with a warning label like this one.
How to Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Firstly, what exactly does “mobile-friendly” mean? According to Google, for a website to be classified as mobile-friendly, it must meet the following criteria:
- Content resizes to fit the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, such as Flash
- Uses text that is easy to read without zooming
- Links are positioned far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
The only way to know for sure whether Google considers your site to be mobile-friendly or not is to take their Mobile-Friendly Test (click or tap the button below).
Your Test Results
The mobile-friendly test will generally give you your results within about 60 seconds or less. There are no gray areas with this test–your site either passes or fails.
If your website passes the test, you will see something like this:
Or, if your website FAILS the test, you will see something like this:
What to do if Your Website Fails the Google Mobile-Friendly Test
If your site passes the test, you’re good to go. Proceed with your SEO and other digital marketing campaigns! However, if your website does not pass the mobile-friendly test, you will need to act quickly so that you can prevent or minimize the impact of Google’s MICE update on your traffic and sales. Your site will need to be rebuilt with mobile-responsive web design.
At RiPE, we have a team of more than 50 expert web designers and programmers who will get your website back on track FAST. Click the button below to get a free website redesign quote.