Now All of Us Need a Mobile-Friendly Website — Because Google Just Said So
Google has an answer for all businesses that have kept responsive and mobile-friendly websites on backburner, or have been searching for the right reasons and time to invest in one: get to work, now.
We’re releasing our latest algorithm.
Starting 21st April, 2015 Google will be releasing its latest algorithm that specifically targets mobile searches. The new release will add mobile ranking factors into the ranking system, allowing Google bots and crawlers to factor the mobile-friendliness of the website and rank it on its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) based on their responsiveness and mobile-friendliness. As a result, when visitors search via smartphones, they will see a “mobile friendly” label besides the website.
The aim of the latest algorithm, as Google phrased it is that as a result of its implementation “users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
Informed in Advance — First Time Ever!
Website developers, SEO experts, and marketers around the globe cannot remember the last time Google took the courtesy of informing us before hand of its plans to release one of its biggest updates. Given that the mobile-friendly update is expected to be bigger than both Panda and Penguin updates, Google’s courtesy has given businesses ample opportunity to develop newer marketing strategies and realign them with mobile.
To further ease the move to more mobile-friendlier websites, Google has updated its mobile guidelines and mobile tools. These resources are available as:
- Google’s mobile usability reports — Allows businesses to access the latest trends and statistics directly from Google (you have to be signed-in to view the reports)
- Mobile friendly testing tool — Allows you to test your website for mobile-responsiveness. The app will show a detailed report of lapses and what is needed to meet Google’s guidelines
- Google’s Mobile Guidelines — A starting point for developers and marketers alike
What Must Businesses Do?
The basic guidelines from Google’s webmasters clearly states what it means for a website to be considered mobile-friendly. A mobile-friendly website will have the following:
- One that does not use unsupported software such as Flash
- Uses responsive grids and layouts that allow the content and the website grids to become legible, and hence will not require visitors to pan the page or zoom on it for better readability
- Resizes the content of the page so that the user does not have to scroll or pan the screen to read or interact with it
- Properly differentiates and separates tabs and links, allowing easier “tap-interaction” on mobile
Given the explosive growth of smartphones and mobile devices; given also that the web as we know it will fall into decline as mobile apps and interactivity offers a more personalized user experience where the search results are based on the individual’s location and preferences instead of a fixed IP for a desktop that might be in use by multiple people — Google’s choice for a standalone mobile-friendliness ranking system is indicative of future trends.
Hence, business hoping to remain future proof need to invest in website redesigns — ones that make their websites smarter, responsive, and more mobile-friendly.