Every website owner needs to understand what's going to happen after April 21st, 2015. It has to do with how your website is set up and it's important.
This is the date when Google is going to stop including (or at least not favor) websites in search results that are not optimized for mobile devices. Google is about about the best results and that includes providing the best user experience (if you think like Google), so they decided that since more and more searches come from mobile devices, website owners need to make sure their websites work well on those devices. This is so important now that Google is effectively penalizing websites that have not made the conversion to responsive website design.
When Google comes out with a major algorithm update, it's usually a big deal.
"Mobilegeddon" Is Coming on April 21 - Are You Ready? (searchenginewatch.com)
Most algorithm updates come with vague or no warning, but Google recently announced, "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."
Game on Google – Time to Prepare for Mobilegeddon
Google may have announced the update early, but it hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with details. Webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes did share a few details in a recent Q&A.
- Responsive design does not have a ranking benefit
- Mobile friendliness is determined at the page level – not sitewide
- Tablets will not be affected by this update
- Google is currently working on a dedicated mobile index
They're saying that responsive design does not have a ranking benefit but they're kind of also saying it does. Basically, since Google is the big dog, you want to follow what they're saying to do.
Is Your Website Responsive? Check it Here! (webstix.com)
Check your website there and also check your website's load time with the PageSpeed tool:
Also check your Google Webmaster Tools account and look for a message you should have received:
You might find a message like this:
"Google systems have tested xx pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these xx pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users."
This is why we're saying that Google is talking out of both sides of their mouth on the responsive website design issue. They're saying that responsive design is not a ranking factor but they're also saying that if your website is not working with a good mobile version, then they're not going to show your website on smartphones. There's more and more mobile traffic now, this will have a huge impact.
Here's some more:
For webmasters who have been putting off improving the mobile usability of their site, now’s the time. Google has clearly stated this change will be significant; some are speculating that it could be as – or even more – impactful than the original Penguin and Panda updates. While this remains to be seen, it’s clear that now is the time to make changes to increase the mobile-usability of your site.
If you’ve been putting off optimizing your site, I’d strongly encourage you to make the move now. Once April 21 rolls around, you may be left dealing with a significant drop in your rankings and traffic. And recovery is far more difficult than taking preventative steps now! Here are three tips to give you the best chance of maintaining your rankings come April.
Do we know what will happen exactly? No, not exactly but we do know that it's going to be significant. We do know that every website does need to go through this conversion. With the clients that have done this, we've seen many of them getting more traffic. The difference now is that there's a deadline and it's coming up.
Google Is Ranking for Mobile Optimization. Here's What Marketers Need to Know (and Do). (huffingtonpost.com)
Earlier this month, Google announced that as of April 21st, they'll use mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in their mobile search results.
This is no surprise when you consider mobile statistics like these:
- Among U.S. adults, 22.9% of all media time in 2014 was spent on mobile
- Mobile searches (roughly 85.9 billion) will surpass desktop searches in 2015
- 57% of the United States owns a smartphone
- 81% of conversions from mobile search happen within five hours of the search
If your website isn't mobile-friendly already, you're likely losing traffic, leads, and new business. If it's not mobile-friendly after April 21st, those losses will grow exponentially.
The reality is, whether your creating a landing page or a blog post, you should always write with your mobile readers in mind. Buyers today expect a consistent experience across all channels and devices. If your brand isn't providing that experience it will suffer.
There you go. It's time to do this conversion. There's absolutely no doubt about that.
One point I like to bring up is the release of the iPhone 6 last year. Not only was that a great phone but people who had the iPhone 5 or 4s or whatever either traded their phones in or sold them on eBay or something. This allowed people who had previously not had smartphones before to buy one for cheap and now all those people have mobile access to websites and information. Every time this happens (a new smartphone is released), more and more people get these devices in their hands and they are using them. Speeds and access are better, too - you've seen the AT&T commercials.
If you own a website, you must invest in this conversion... period. We've been saying this a while and now there's a deadline.
Contact Webstix today for more information and to find out how we can help you.