On April 21st, 2015 Google will be implementing a new aspect of their search algorithm which will affect the position of websites in a list of search results. This change will cause sites which are recognized as mobile-friendly to rise higher in the list when a user runs a search from a mobile device (Google Webmaster Central Blog, 2015).
Whoa! That sounds like a major change. Why is Google doing this?
Google updates their search algorithm regularly in an effort to deliver more relevant results to their users. In January/February 2014 mobile internet use surpassed that of desktop access for the first time in history (O'Toole, 2014). When combined with the fact that Google searches from mobile devices surpassed those of desktop devices by the end of November 2014, it quickly becomes apparent that mobile devices are a dominant force on the web (Search Engine Watch, 2015). The problem is that while mobile devices have the ability to perform internet searches, certain constraints need to be addressed in order for a site to be usable on those devices. Ensuring that a mobile user sees mobile-friendly sites in the search results steers them towards the sites more relevant to their devices.
Do I need to be concerned?
Yes. For those of you in particularly tight SEO races, this change represents a crucial edge which can make or break the position of your site in the search rankings. However, even if you don't care where your site ends up in the search results, chances are that a significant portion of your user base is using a mobile device to access your website. Ensuring your site is easily accessible, regardless of device type, is a wise investment of your time.
How do I know if my site is mobile-friendly?
Luckily for all of us, Google has provided a tool which can analyze sites in order to determine whether or not a site is mobile-friendly. To use this tool: Navigate to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ Enter your site's domain name in the field labeled Enter a web page URL.
Once the tool has finished its evaluation you will see the results. A green "Awesome this site is mobile-friendly." means you have nothing to worry about. However, in the event that the tool detects one or more issues with the site you will see a red "Not mobile-friendly" message and a list of items which should be addressed before the site is considered mobile-friendly. For those of you who feel uncomfortable making the changes yourself, the staff at iRapture.com is ready and willing to help get you mobile-friendly.
- Google Webmaster Central Blog. (2015, February 26). Finding more mobile-friendly search results. Retrieved from http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
- O'Toole, J. (2014, February 28). Mobile apps overtake PC Internet usage in U.S.. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/28/technology/mobile/mobile-apps-internet/
- Search Engine Watch. (2015, January 7). Why Mobile Web Still Matters in 2015. Retrieved from http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2389159/why-mobile-web-still-matters-in-2015
Joshua Moor is the Advanced Development Consultant at iRapture.com.
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