After a lot of speculation, but also some advance warnings from Google, mobile-friendliness became a ranking signal. This created quite a stir across the digital landscape, but SEOs weren’t too surprised. The spectacular rise of mobile devices made such a scenario a logic step forward for the webmaster community. The new algorithms update means that mobile ready websites’ rankings are boosted, while desktop-oriented pages are demoted for mobile searchers. It is clear that multi-platform usability is the future of online experience, and that future is now.
- Going mobile: The ultimate goal of the algorithm update is to improve the online experience
e of mobile users. A lot has been said about hidden agendas, but we are not paying heed to speculation here. Yes, mobile rankings of many websites dropped after April, 21. But, it is already common knowledge that websites must be created to the search engine’s preferences. Furthermore, Google aims to enable users to find the answer to their search query on the first SERP. Now, mobile-friendly update affects only mobile searches, but brace yourself. As of this year, desktop searches are falling behind mobile ones, for the first time in history.
- Bouncing: People searching web from a smartphone or a tablet most often leave the page in frustration if they need to do a whole lot of zooming, pinching and scrolling. This increases your bounce rates and sends a negative signal to the omnipresent deity of the digital realm, the Google. If a visitor abandons the site shortly after arriving, then it suggests that your structure or content is not adequate or relevant. Many eCommerce websites experienced a sudden decrease in internet traffic, which knocked down the revenues as well.
- Real-time individualism: Another thing to note is that the mobile update is a global overhaul that applies to individual pages, not whole websites. This is good news for those who have only some segments of the site that is not optimized for mobile devices. An algorithm also works in real-time, which means that benefits from making your website mobile-friendly can be felt right away. Google bots crawl your pages in order to determine how well-optimized they are, and then the algorithm kicks in.
- Tests and trials: This, of course, works both ways, but you can use mobile-friendly tests to see how each page stands. These tools even provide recommendations on how to optimize it for mobile users. Depending on the foundations, you might have to do some simple tweaks or a site-wide overhaul. Some adjustments require advanced skills, which is why I teamed up with the digital agency from Sydney to do it right. There are also handy tools that enable you to measure the amount of traffic affected by the global update.
- How to respond: A proper answer to the new developments is to embrace the responsive design. Google has made it obvious that this is their preferred solution for mobile optimization. It is used to automatically format the web design and adjust the content to fit the screen size of the device being used to browse. Optimizers and designers can retain the content on the same URL, so no need for additional website version. This also means less work for Google bots in analyzing the web content. Hence, the mighty gatekeeper sees this as a win-win scenario. Actually, the responsive website design might even work as a part of your website’s branding development, as it can help boost your innovative graphic and design solutions.
- Starting from scratch: In some cases, a separate mobile version of the site is a way to go. However, this does mean investing more time and resources in two SEO campaigns. Creating a mobile-friendly version of the already optimized site involves the optimization that starts from scratch. Also, authority accumulated on two sites is not shared, which is a disadvantage in terms of backlinks and social media shares. In any case, Google recognizes which site is tailored to desktop searches and which for mobile browsing.