A few days ago, Google announced that it will start taking mobile friendliness into account more as it ranks pages. The search engine has encouraged site owners to make their sites easier for smartphone and tablet users to navigate and made it easier for searchers to find mobile-friendly sites.
Now, Google has announced that starting on April 21, mobile-friendliness will become a more major ranking signal and will be used worldwide. It explains that one reason for the change is to make it easier for people to find the best content that is also optimised for the device they are using.
What Does Mobile-Friendly Mean?
We throw around the term “mobile friendly” a lot, but do we really understand what it means? Basically, a mobile-friendly website is one that is easily viewed on mobile devices. It may be responsive so the layout, organisation and even type of content displayed changes for mobile users, who can more easily find what they are looking for and navigate the pages.
Some signs that may mean your site isn’t optimised for mobile include:
+ Unreadable Text
+ Small, Unusable Buttons
+ Warped Images
+ The Need to Zoom and Scroll to see an Entire Page
+ Buried Contact Information
These are just some of the issues that could mean your site isn’t mobile friendly. Google recommends that you use its Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if your website is optimised. If you use Google’s Webmaster Tools, you can use the Mobile Usability Report to find out exactly what needs to be updated on your site to make it mobile ready.
You can also see Google’s Mobile Guide to find out more about what goes into a mobile-friendly site and how you can start making changes.
More than SEO Perks
If your site isn’t already mobile friendly, now is the time to make some changes. Of course, this new update from Google means your responsive site will be more likely to earn higher rankings, but that’s not the only benefit you’ll see.
Decreased Bounce Rate
You’ve probably landed on a website on your smartphone, found it wasn’t mobile friendly, and then clicked the back button. When your site is optimised for mobile, people will be less likely to do that because your site will be easier to use.
Increased Browsing and Engagement
Your site visitors will be much more likely to stick around longer if your website is mobile friendly. They will be more likely to browse your pages, leave a comment or make a purchase if these actions are easy to do, no matter what device they are using.
A mobile-friendly site will also tell your market that you are up to date and on the cutting edge of technology. You will build a reputation as a business that is on top of things and able to serve its customers using the latest technology.
This latest Google update gives businesses one more reason to make sure their site is mobile friendly, but the other benefits that come with a responsive site can also make a big impact on your online branding efforts.
Google also announced it will now include information from indexed apps as another ranking factor. You can find out more about both of these changes on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.