Last week, many businesses around the world discovered their search ranking was downgraded. Google gave a month of warning, as did many social media experts.
What Google has done is add “mobile friendliness to the 200 or so factors it uses to list websites on its search engine. Click to Tweet
What this means is that preferential ranking treatment is now given to the sites that are “optimized” for mobile. Click to Tweet
It also means that having a mobile friendly website is no longer a nice option to give your customer- it is absolutely essential. Companies will also be docked for shortcomings like displaying links that are hard to click or forcing users to scroll horizontally on a lopsided site. In addition, the company recently announced that in certain cases it would also use information contained within apps as a ranking factor for mobile searches performed on phones that run its Android software. Called “#MobileGeddon”, many small businesses are crying foul as it is not always an inexpensive fix for their websites.
It seems that the constant changes taking place move faster than “The Flash”. Click to Tweet
Companies are responding to our lifestyles and providing us with alternatives that work Click to Tweet
Whereas at one point in time, we had to take our computers with us where ever we went, in order to keep up with what was going on with our business or social media sites, all of the major mobile companies are offering smart phones or tablets to match our “On the Go” lifestyle. Click to Tweet
What has not happened is many businesses have not adapted their sites to match that progress. Click to Tweet
In the space of a few years, phones have become the dominant portal through which people use the internet. I recently attended a small business conference about social rankings and the comment was made that the smart phones we have today have more capabilities than the computers that sent man to the moon.
The United States had 163 million mobile users last year which was an increase of over 100 million, according to eMarketer, a research company. Click to Tweet
Google is the dominant search engine, its grasp on the mobile market had been slipping in the face of increased competition from native apps expressly meant for mobile devices. Last year Google grabbed 68% of the $8.75 billion in mobile search revenues last year, which was actually a decrease of 81%.
Google has for years been the world’s most widely used search engine and a significant generator of traffic to websites, from major news organizations to mom and pop shops. We all know that the Google Search algorithm is a closely guarded secret, but we are all constantly trying to make the best of those things we do know about. Ten years ago we were not reading articles that stressed the importance of “Key words” in what we used in the world of internet.
Now we know that we even have to optimize our photos to help with the search engine results of our brand or business. Click to Tweet
A Google spokeswoman stated that “While the mobile –friendly changes is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal-so if a page with high-quality content is not mobile-friendly; it could still rank high if it has great content for the query. The ranking update will not make it rank below lower –quality pages that are mobile friendly”
What is Not Affected?
While many feel that all areas of their ranking will be affected by this new addition, it is not true. Click To Tweet
Desk top will not be affected in any way. shape or form despite what many people are concerned or are saying about it, this change is strictly for mobile devices. In other words, if you know that the majority of your users are using laptops or desktop computers, the new algorithm is not going to affect their business. If a person is searching for your company on a desktop, how you rank in the search engine results will remain the same, even if you are not optimized for mobile.
What about Tablets?
Many webmasters were concerned that the rankings for companies would be affected by tablet users as well, as many considered them mobile as well. Fortunate for many, this change is strictly for smart phones. That said, this writer would like to suggest that you ensure all of your mobile devices be responsive in their designs. Of course we all want to deliver a greater user experience and the facts clearly speak for themselves that more people are using smart phones and tablets than before.
Again, the current algorithm does not impact search results done on tablets. Click to Tweet
I do believe however that this will become affected in the future and the wise business man or woman will prepare for this now.
Local businesses are not affected by this change with Google. However, if a local business is not mobile friendly, it should become a priority just because if a person is out and about and looks up something, you would want your site to show up in a pleasing manner.
This change is affecting all languages and countries, not just English results.
Some WordPress plug-ins and themes are NOT mobile friendly, despite assurances they are.
Anytime you update a plugin or a WordPress theme, always double check your site and ensure that the site is still passing the mobile friendly test. Click to Tweet
You don’t want to wait until you notice the mobile errors popping up in the Google Webmaster Tools. Likewise, be careful of some plugins that can accidentally block Googlebot, which of course would not only cause it to lose its mobile friendly boost, but lead to those pages being removed from Google.
Title and Description Changes
Google does not have plans to change titles or descriptions so they should be the same on both desktop and mobile. Of course, this may change in the future, but for now, they will be the same.
The first recommendation is that you should test your pages in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
It might be a wise idea to ensure that the other pages on your site are mobile friendly and not just the homepage-especially for Word Press sites. Click to Tweet
If you do not want to check all of your pages, at least test the important ones to ensure that if something is wrong, you find and correct it. No one wants problems on pages that are set up to have a large impact. It is advisable that webmasters who are utilizing m.example.com mobile sites that they add them to the Google Webmaster Tools so they can be aware of any change or problems.
Although it may be obvious, there will be those SEO companies that will use this information about mobile SEO in a way to make some money. Although it is advantageous to ensure your site is mobile optimized, your site is NOT going to be removed from the Google index if it is not.. Do not allow a company to fool you to make some money with a scam.
Google is just giving a boost in the mobile search results to those sites that are mobile optimized Click to Tweet
Considering the number of mobile users today, you cannot avoid taking the time to have a website that is friendly to its users. Use the Google tester to see if your site is optimized for mobile. If not, be careful about scams. Try a different theme on your site. If you do have to change themes, use a theme that is responsive which means that the page adapts to whichever device it is being seen on. Be sure to check several pages of your site to ensure you are providing a good mobile experience for your customers. Although ensuring this goes for tablets as well, it is not vital at this point in time.