Beware web users, there’s another Google algorithm update on the way and this one is likely to affect quite a lot of websites, one or two of my own clients included. This time, the masters of the universe have got their beady eye on mobile search results and it’s quite a significant change that is rapidly approaching.
What Is The Update?
On 26th February 2015, Google published the following announcement on their Webmaster Central Blog;
“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.”
What Does It Mean?
As more and more people are now accessing the internet via mobile phones or tablets, websites need to be responsive to this so that they can be returned in the search results and viewed on any media. To makes sure that users continue to get the best results for their searches, Google’s mobile ranking factors will now not only be used to label a site as mobile friendly but will be actively used to rank websites too.
In plain English, that means that all websites will need to be responsive by 21st April 2015, otherwise they will be penalised and may even fall off the rankings altogether.
Why So Much Notice?
The fact that Google gave webmasters almost two months’ notice is a good indication of how significant a change this is. Clearly, they want to ensure that those websites that need to change have sufficient time to be altered or updated.
In addition to this, a couple of our clients have received email notifications advising them of the upcoming change, again ensuring that all sites are given the option to comply before the algorithm update is rolled out.
What Can You Do?
Google have actually been quite friendly about this too and have provided links on their blog to resources that will help webmasters: all the information that you will need on making your site mobile ready, including a Mobile Friendly Test for your website, can be found in Google’s Guide to Mobile-Friendly Sites. Besides some other useful tools, this guide also includes a little guide to Mobile SEO too, which is always helpful (but not as helpful as me!).
The long and short of it though is that you are just going to have to bite the bullet and make your website responsive, if it isn’t already, and that I’m afraid is going to cost money. As the majority of small to medium business owners have no idea of how to redevelop a website to get it past these new rules, most will have to go back to their web developers and pay a few hundred pounds at the very least.
What Can GrowTraffic Do?
Although we’re primarily a Freelance SEO Consultancy, optimised web design is intrinsic to effective SEO and so it’s something that we offer for what we think are very reasonable prices. We work with a few select Freelance Web Designers, whom we have worked with for years and whose expertise and knowledge we know we can rely on.
As such, we will be offering all of our relevant existing clients an upgrade to ensure their websites will ride out the upcoming algorithm updates and maintain the high position in the search results that we have worked so hard to achieve.
If you are not a current client of ours (you must be mad!) but are in need of some advice on the upcoming changes and how they may affect you, or if you know that your website is not mobile ready and need to take action urgently, then please do get in touch today and we will steer you through the process from beginning to end. We look forward to hearing from you.