Remember last year’s furore over ‘Mobilegeddon’? When Google introduced the mobile-friendly ranking signal which favours sites that know how to look good, act good and feel good on a smartphone and penalises those that don’t? Well, the next instalment of Google’s push towards all things mobile has arrived with its announcement that, as of May 2016, the search engine will be rolling out an update which will strengthen its mobile-friendly ranking signal.
Those who are fully prepared for the ever-present threat of Mobilegeddon can breathe a sigh of relief that their efforts have not been in vain, whilst those whose sites take an age to upload on a mobile device, are too darn wide for the screen or have links and text that you need a magnifying glass to properly discern may be left quaking in their boots.
In fact, having read that back, the fact that being less than mobile-friendly can affect your search engine rankings could arguably be just one small part of the reason why your site should be fully mobile optimised. A larger part is the fact that you will give your visitors an attack of irritation, losing their attention in a heartbeat as they log off your site. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for your website traffic.
If you have allowed the mobile optimisation of your website to fall to the bottom of your busy to-do list, best make it a priority now, before Google’s mobile-friendly ranking signal increases its influence in the next few months.
So, why are Google giving the ranking signal a boost?
First of all, we can safely say that the UK is a smartphone society. Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report, published last August, detailed how smartphones had finally overtaken laptops as UK Internet users’ number one device and that we, as a nation, spend two hours browsing the internet on our smartphones every day. To put this into perspective, this is twice as long as laptops and PCs.
Additionally, a May 2015 article published on the Google Inside AdWords blog detailed that more searches came from mobile devices in 10 countries including Japan and the US.
It figures that Google, responding to the need for mobile-users to be able to find relevant, quality results to their search queries, is stepping up to the plate, ensuring that mobile-friendly sites will benefit even more in the search engine rankings.
However, it is worth mentioning that when Google made the announcement, they were also quick to make the point that even with this additional action, being mobile-friendly was certainly not to be thought of as the sole or even the most important factor when it comes to page rankings.
They pointed out that high quality ‘great, relevant content’ could still pull the page up, should its lack of mobile optimisation let it down. As many may have noticed, non-responsive sites have still ranked in mobile searches over the past year. But to hold off on optimising your site in light of this could be seen as grasping at straws.
Google has made its intentions crystal clear: the priority is to ensure mobile users are provided with a top quality mobile search experience and the most relevant, useful and mobile-friendly results they can offer.
If you are keen to get your website shipshape for mobile, take a look at the Google Webmaster Mobile Guide. And if you are keen to get your content tweaked so that it comes across better for mobile and given a little bit of SEO magic to help raise its status in the rankings, contact us at M2 Bespoke to see what we can do for you.Ben Hollom
March 18, 2016