Usually Google keeps its algorithm changes pretty under wraps, but its next big update is being widely publicised to website owners and digital marketers. From April 21st 2015, mobile-friendly websites will be ranked higher in Google Search than their desktop-only equivalents.
Mobile internet is on the rise
Thanks to improved coverage of 3G and 4G service and free wifi, 42% of all UK browsing now takes place on a mobile device, and over half of traffic to e-commerce sites is done through smartphones or tablets. Smartphone ownership has overtaken PC ownership, and the number of users who browse the internet solely or mostly through mobile devices is on the rise.
Also key is what users do on their mobiles. 91% of users check emails on their phone, meaning email marketing campaigns must display well on mobile devices. But what about when they click through to your website? We’ve all experienced the pain of squinting to read tiny webpage text; that is what Google is trying to improve.
But how do you ‘go mobile’?
There are actually three different ways: responsive design, dynamic serving and separate URLs. Responsive design means the same code is used everywhere, and elements are sized using percentage of the screen size. Dynamic serving adjusts the code depending on the device viewing the content. And finally, separate URLs mean there is an entirely separate website built for the mobile version (e.g. m.facebook.com).
Google prefers responsive websites, but any of the three will help boost your Google Search Ranking.
Then comes the nitty-gritty: the small tweaks to webpages to ensure text is sized correctly, links are easily clickable, and content loads correctly (e.g. flash videos won’t work on smartphones).
Website loading speed is also a key factor; mobile internet is often patchy, so don’t make your users wait longer than they need to in order to view your site.
So what do I do?
It’s easy to check if your website is ready for mobile, either using Google Webmaster Tools or with their Mobile Friendly Test for webpages.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, no need to panic! Google has developed a comprehensive Mobile Guide to help you comply. You can also contact us at Aelite, for our quick and simple Responsive Conversion service that will take your existing website and turn it into a mobile masterpiece.