If you've heard the term “mobile friendly update” a lot lately, there’s a good reason for that. On April 21, Google implemented what many regard as its most impactful algorithm update in years. Google now evaluates the mobile accessibility of all websites and gives preferential search engine rank to those with mobile optimization. Those sites that are not optimized for access via smartphone will suffer in the rankings when users do a Google search from their phones, showing up lower in the results than it would have before the new algorithm was adopted.
What This Means for Your Company’s Website
If you haven’t optimized your business websites for mobile access, you’re not alone. TechCrunch.com* estimates that 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies have been negatively affected by the new algorithm because they are not optimized for mobile access. Google’s message is clear, however, and well-supported by industry data. The number of worldwide smartphone users is expected to exceed 2 billion by 2016. More than 80 percent of Internet users own a smartphone, and mobile searches make up almost 60 percent of all user searches conducted through Google. The tipping point is here. If you aren’t optimized for mobile access, you may already be losing sales to competitors who are.
Does Your Site Pass the Mobile Friendly Test?
You can evaluate the mobile-readiness of your website quickly and easily. Bring your site up in a browser window, then resize the window so that it is small, similar to the size of a smartphone screen. As it changes size, you may see elements on the page shift and move around. If your site’s content adjusted appropriately, and if none of the content is cut off or garbled, that’s a positive sign. Google itself offers a free tool** to analyze your site. In just a few seconds, it will provide helpful information, including a screenshot of what the algorithm sees when it analyzes your site and hints for making your site accessible for mobile devices.
Practical Strategies for Optimizing Your Website
If you haven’t adopted a mobile platform for your site, you have several options. Depending on how (and when) your site was designed, your web developer may be able to convert your site using one of the many mobile conversion tools available today. You might also consider switching to a responsive platform that will identify the user’s device profile and render the display accordingly. The third and most expensive option is to implement a mobile application for your business (there’s an app for that!). Before making a decision, experts advise consulting with your online marketing team to determine which path will best help you achieve your goals.
Whichever way you decide to go, remember that the goal of any website is to help you connect with your customers. In today’s market, mobile accessibility is the way of the future — the need is here to stay, and Google’s mobile friendly update is just the beginning.
If you want to be sure your website can be found in Google mobile search results, trust the professionals at Be Locally to help with your online marketing.