Mobilegeddon. Mopacalypse. The biggest Google algorithm update in years.
Online panic over the impending changes to give mobile-friendly websites preference starting on April 21 is reminiscent of Y2K. But should the changes Google is making really come as a surprise?
Mobile website traffic has been on the incline for several years. Companies like OffWhite have been building mobile-friendly websites for years. The need for great mobile customer experiences is nothing new.
Most websites now see 30-40 percent of their traffic coming from mobile devices. Website searches done from mobile devices are projected to surpass desktop searches this year. With such a large shift in browsing behavior, Google is leading the way to giving users the most relevant and easy-to-use search results.
So, what does that mean for your Google organic traffic? If you already have a mobile-friendly website (responsive or adaptive), you can expect your rankings to improve as those who have not made mobile upgrades drop off.
How do you know if your website is mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes? Google Webmaster Tools has been giving website owners mobile compatibility warnings (and tips for fixing issues) since well before the algorithm change was announced. If you search for your company on your phone, websites that meet Google’s criteria feature a gray “mobile-friendly” tag beside them in the search results (see above). Google has even provided an online tool that will tell you if your site is mobile-friendly, or what you need to fix to make it mobile-friendly.
If you do not have a mobile-friendly web experience, you don’t necessarily need to rush out and build a new website to maintain your rankings. Contact us for a mobile evaluation and an estimate for bringing your website into compliance with Google’s mobile-friendly criteria. (Please note that websites over two years in age will require extensive updates, to the point where it could make sense to update your look as well as adjusting for mobile compatibility.)
The minimum requirement for Google is that you adjust your website enough that it is easy for mobile users to read and navigate. Some of the most common website adjustments include increasing text sizes, adding space between links so phone users can easily click them and keeping content scalable so it is not wider than the screen.
The good news: unlike some previous Google updates where you were penalized long-term if your website did not comply at first scan, if you make the mobile-friendly adjustments Google requires (even after April 21), your site will be re-instated in Google’s rankings.
So what happens if I choose to do nothing? If your website is not mobile-friendly, and updates are not in your near future, you can hope that this new algorithm roll-out will be slow, as some of Google’s previous changes have been historically. At best, you can buy yourself some time before your organic traffic begins to suffer.
Among the websites that we manage at OffWhite, we see a trend of 50% or higher in online sales leads and orders coming from organic traffic, with Google typically dominating at 75% of those conversions (or higher). There is a reason for all of the mobilegeddon hype – this is a big deal.
One final thing to consider as you determine whether updating your website for mobile-friendliness should be a priority: check out the competition. When you run your Google test, type in a few competitors’ websites too. If you are not mobile-friendly and they are, you have a problem. If you are all not mobile-friendly, you have an opportunity. Get ahead of the competition now.
if your website needs updated to meet Google’s mobile-friendly criteria, or you need a complete website overhaul, contact us or call us at 800-606-1610.