April 15 2016

Beginning in May, Google will be rolling out an update to their mobile search results that will increase the effect of their mobile-friendly ranking signal. This update is supposed to roll out gradually, so there shouldn’t be a major drop-off of non-mobile-friendly websites within mobile search results. Google was also clear that the intent of a search query is an important signal, so if a page has great content and isn’t mobile friendly, it can still rank well.

This update will come just over a year after Google announced and released their mobile-friendly ranking algorithm on April 21, 2015 which officially made mobile-friendliness a ranking signal for mobile searches. This specific, mobile-only algorithm was designed to boost mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results.

Last April, this update was expected to make a very big impact on mobile search results, with some describing the update as “Mobilegeddon.” The impact of the update was smaller than expected, but foreshadowed the beginning of a larger push from Google towards a mobile-first design as we’re seeing with the upcoming May update.

Google announced last year that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers” in the US. As mobile usage and searches have surpassed desktop, the impact of this update has grown naturally.

I have a mobile-friendly website. How does this impact me?

If you have a responsive website or another mobile solution for your website, Google has indicated that you do not have anything to worry about, and “you will not be impacted by this update.”

I don’t have a mobile-friendly website. How do I know if I need one?

If you’ve been waiting for a mobile-friendly website, it’s time that you seriously consider a mobile solution to stay competitive. According to Google, 42% of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process and 44% of buyers discover a brand they were unaware of via mobile search.

Understanding your mobile trends is also really important for the decision to invest in a mobile-friendly website solution. Below is a video on how to view your existing mobile traffic in Google Analytics.

Keep in mind that if your mobile visits are low (less than 10%) in relation to your overall traffic, it could be the mobile algorithm already impacting your visibility in mobile search results.

If this is the case, it’s good to take a look at your competitors’ websites and their visibility in mobile search results. For your important terms for your business, are your competitors ranking better because they have mobile websites?

I’m not sure if I have a mobile-friendly website.

If you aren’t sure if your website is mobile-friendly, you can test your website by using Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.

How does having a mobile-friendly website impact my SEO and PPC efforts?

The Google mobile-friendly algorithm update specifically impacts organic mobile search results, meaning your SEO efforts. If you do not have a mobile-friendly website, you risk not showing up as well as competitors who do have mobile-friendly websites in organic search results. However, having a mobile-friendly website is paramount for pay-per-click ad programs as well. With a mobile-friendly website, TopSpot can set up PPC campaigns with mobile in mind meaning a mobile-optimized message, display URL and landing page specifically for mobile devices. AdWords & Bing PPC have made it easier to target visitors by device, which allows a lot of flexibility to tailor your message and settings to your mobile visitors.

Do you have examples of mobile-friendly websites TopSpot has created?

We sure do, and many of them have also won awards. Take a look at some of our responsive websites we’ve built in our Portfolio and their results in our Case Studies section.

In summary, Google’s updates are pushing website owners to adapt to the changing face of how people search, which is often with their mobile devices. The benefits for staying competitive in Google and in your internet marketing efforts are apparent, but having a mobile friendly website is also part of a good user experience.

In fact, 80% of clients we surveyed said mobile friendliness was important to their experience when visiting a website.(TechValidate). Think about your own experience on your mobile device with websites that you have to zoom in and out and around to read content. Making your website experience for your users seamless between desktop and mobile is part of their experience with your business and brand. And it could be the difference between a potential customer choosing you or your competitor.