Tomorrow, Google will make a big change to the way it ranks websites. And the mobile will rise.
On April 21st, Google will make a significant change to its algorithm — rewarding mobile-friendly sites. What does that mean? Your website, your landing pages, and your blog should be fully optimized for mobile use if you want to come up higher in search results.
If you haven’t yet figured this out, an algorithm is a mathematical formula that gives a numerical value to data and if you meet the data criteria, you score higher. So how does this work and why the big change? According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, “The 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.”
If you’ve already got a mobile-friendly site, you can look forward to the possibility of a higher conversation rate. Companies with a mobile-friendly site have three times the chance of increasing their conversation rate to 5% or higher.
If you’re not mobile-friendly, it’s highly likely that your ranking on Google will decrease dramatically when searched on a mobile device. This is a challenge for those who aren’t ready, but it also presents an opportunity to finally get your house in order. If you’ve been putting off mobile-optimization, you’ve pretty much run out of time.
But don’t panic. You’ve got three options for getting your company situated on the mobile side of things to satisfy Google’s new algorithm:
- Responsive Design: RUSSO’s own website and the sites we design for our clients are all create on Content Management Platforms like WordPress. Using such platforms usually comes with a Responsive Design feature that adapts the layout to the viewing environment for just about any device or operating system including tablets, Android Devices, iPhones, iPads, and more. Of the three options, this is obviously we’d recommend this one because using a platform like WordPress allows you to seamlessly implement mobile Responsive Design with minimal grunt work.
- Dynamic Serving: This is a setup where the server responds with different HTML (and CSS) on the same URL depending on the user agent requesting the page. Here, the site alters the HTML for mobile user devices, but the mobile content is “hidden” when crawled with a desktop user agent. Dynamic Serving isn’t as seamless as a Responsive Design because there could always be issues with the code changing from platform to platform.
- A Separate Mobile Site: This is a method we actually used to employ on behalf of our clients, but once we started using Content Management Platforms, we don’t see any use in a business managing two websites. Still, it’s an option for companies to have a website and then have a separate website for mobile-optimization. But the problems aren’t usually worth the effort. You need to maintain the content in two different areas, which creates more work for your staff, and there will inevitably be content continuity issues because you’ll always be juggling two websites.
In addition to this big mobile retooling, Google is also factoring other features into your mobile rankings. Features that might slow a website down and other elements that don’t translate across all devices will knock your rank down. For example, if you have a mobile site with a Flash component, you’re highly unlikely to have a high ranking on mobile Safari searches.
To test the mobile-friendliness of your website according to Google, click here.
The Bottom Line: Your business relies on Google whether you like it or not. So keep yourself close to the top of the list with mobile-friendliness.
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