Back in February Google released a statement saying it was going to be changing its search-engine ranking algorithm by making mobile-friendliness essential. On April 21st they made good on that commitment. Now, what does that mean? Sites that are mobile-friendly will be ranked higher in search results. While those that aren’t will suffer and see a steep drop in traffic.
Google isn’t just making these changes and leaving you to wonder if this affects your site or not. They have made a Mobile-Friendly Test where all you have to do is enter your URL and hit analyze. If your site passes the test it will show, “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.” If your site fails the test it will say, “Not mobile-friendly.” On the left side of the page, It will then give you the reasons why it failed such as text too small to read, links too close together, or the mobile viewport is not set. On the right it will give you recommendations on how to fix the issues whether you use a content management system, someone built it for you or even if you built it yourself.
So why is google doing this? Google is putting pressure on sites who haven’t made their pages responsive to provide a solid user experience on mobile devices. It doesn’t look good on Google if users are having a difficult experience with Google search on mobile because the site it recommends isn’t built to work on your device. For example a user is searching for information to prove to a friend that Batman can and has beaten Superman. If Google takes them to a page built for a desktop it’s not going to be a great experience. Google does not want to be the bridge to poor content so if a site isn’t built to provide a solid mobile experience it’s not going to show up on mobile searches.
A large factor behind this is having to compete with mobile apps. Starting today Google began using information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed in users who have the app installed. So for example if I’m looking to pre-order the new Halo game Best Buy might pop up in the search results and that link would open the best buy app on my phone and take me to the page to pre-order Halo 5.
This is a large flashing neon sign that a mobile web presence is essential. If this news is concerning to you feel free to reach out. SparkNET will be happy to talk with you about what needs to be done to get your online presence through Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.