1 Apr 2015

Google’s new ranking algorithm for mobile friendly websites

Forrester Boyd in Google's search rankings on mobile

On the 26th February 2015 Google announced that it would be rolling out a new search ranking algorithm that will give preference to mobile friendly websites when displayed through a mobile search. These changes are set to roll out on April 21st 2015.

What’s happening

Whilst the landscape of the internet is variable and ever changing, one of the most undeniable constants is the growth of mobile internet traffic. Whilst the numbers vary from source to source, the general consensus is that in 2014, mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic for websites in the UK. And that disparity is unlikely to stop growing.

Armed with this data, and a lot more of their own, Google has recognised that mobile websites are not a flavour of the month, that they are infact here to stay, and they are the future.

The main reason behind these changes is that Google’s endgame is to deliver the best possible user experience. If they are sending people to your website on a mobile device, and who are ultimately leaving dissatisfied, then they are not achieving that goal! Mobile friendly websites to the rescue!

mobile-test

What does this mean for you

Ultimately, after the 21st of April, if you and your competitors are ranking roughly the same in Google, but they have mobile friendly websites and you don’t, they will start to receive preference when being displayed in search results on a mobile device.

First thing to do is not panic! You’re probably asking “Why shouldn’t I panic? I’m going to lose search rankings in Google!”. Remember, these changes (for now) are only going to impact search results on a mobile device.

How mobile friendly websites appear in Google

How mobile friendly websites appear in Google

The second thing you should do (after not panicking), is check your Google Analytics data (or have us do it). This will allow you to see what % of traffic to your website is from a mobile device.

If your mobile traffic is relatively low compared to traffic from other devices, it may not be worth you making the change just yet (but be prepared to in the future).

Making mobile friendly websites, especially amending an existing website,  is not a straight forward task, and it may not be worth the investment required at this time for you to make your site responsive.

Again, you’re probably asking “But what about losing Google rankings?”. Lets say for example only 10% of your traffic is from a mobile devices, it probably means people aren’t searching for you on a mobile device to start with (there can be many reasons for this, niche market, etc…). Therefore, the effect these changes will have on your overall website traffic will not be as noticeable as someone with a high percentage of mobile traffic. But be prepared to make the jump in the future, you may find your mobile traffic shoots up.

If you mobile traffic is high (45%+), but your site is not mobile friendly, then you should definitely consider making your site responsive. Not just to maintain Google rankings, but to improve your customers experience once they actually arrive on your website! Just because you appear number 1 in Google when searched on a mobile device does not mean that person will convert to business if they have a bad experience and cannot navigate around your website.

Laser Red responsive website services

Mobile Friendly websites by Laser Red

What do you need to do

If your website is already responsive, then you should largely be un-affected by the changes. However, depending on how long ago your site was built, there may be new criteria that needs to be met that wasn’t considered at the time.

If your website is not responsive, not only do you run the risk of losing search ranking positions on mobile searches, but also losing out on potential conversions/customer because they are frustrated with pinch and zooming to navigate their way around your desktop website on a mobile device.

  • When they visited a mobile-friendly site, 74% of people say that they’re more likely to return to that site in the future.
  • 67% of mobile users say that when they visit mobile friendly websites, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service.

Source: http://www.google.co.uk/think/research-studies/what-users-want-most-from-mobile-sites-today.html

I want to know more about Mobile Friendly websites

If you want to maintain mobile search engine rankings, as well as opening up new possibilities for your business and customers, then contact us to find out more about our mobile friendly websites.

Get in touch

If you are concerned about how the changes affect you please contact us on 01472 878 496 or office@laserred.co

With the deadline rapidly approaching, we are keen to help all our existing clients. However we are expecting a large number of enquiries about these changes, so please get in touch early to avoid disappointment.

The authors

John Minns - Operations Manager | Laser Red
John Minns
Operations Manager