On April 21st, Google is rolling out substantial changes to its mobile search algorithm for browsing its search-engine with a mobile device (cellphone, tablet, etc.). This algorithm update will have a detrimental impact on the search engine rankings of any website that Google deems non-mobile-friendly.
From Google’s Official Blog Post on the subject:
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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
The implications for small and local businesses that rely on their Google Map Listings and their Google+ Local rankings to drive visibility in their local markets, website traffic and in-store visits – are quite serious.
This is a core adjustment that Google has been planning for the last few years as the use of devices such as smart phones and tablets have become the default for millions of users worldwide and the usage trends have continued to surge ever upwards.
According to a recent Pew Internet study; 64% of American Adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011.
An independent study released by Google in 2014 cited some very important statistics about how consumers use Google Search:
- 72 percent of consumers who searched for local information on their smartphone visited a store within 5 miles.
- 50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day.
“Having a great mobile site is no longer just about making a few more sales,” stated Google. “It’s become a critical component of building strong brands, nurturing lasting customer relationships, and making mobile work for you.”
The implications of this are huge. Allow me to put it to you another way: Have you ever performed a search for a local business, service or product on your phone, seeking information such as local business hours, locations or directions?
If your business does not rank for mobile based searches, over time you could potentially loose a significant portion of sales and in-store visits. Ensuring that your website is responsive is critical to your continued visibility for Google local search. And in most cases, it will cost you more in missed opportunities than it would to fix the problem.
If you’re not sure if your website is mobile friendly, here’s a handy tool that Google put together to help you: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ – Simply enter your domain to see how Google interprets the mobile friendliness of your website.
We’ve also built our own comprehensive mobile testing tool here: Drive Customers Mobile Testing Tool – Our tool will allow you to check your site against some of the most popular mobile browser dimensions as well as specific mobile devices.
If your site does not comply, you will need to take immediate action. This might include adjusting the text size of your website and/or the page width to see if you may be able to pass Google’s “mobile-friendly” test. More than likely, you will need to either create a new mobile website or make your website “responsive”. We currently offer several economical options for making your site mobile friendly, without having to build your website over again. Please contact us for details.