Usually when Google makes an algorithm change to the way they calculate search rankings, they just roll it out with no warning or sometimes a vague statement about “changes coming,” but it’s up to the rest of us to figure out what ranking parameters they changed and how to fix it… fast.
Google’s new update which is rolling out on April 21, 2015 is a doozy. So much so that they are giving people a head’s up. You’ve been warned! (Well, you’ll be “warned” after you finish reading this blog.)
Past Google updates have made changes which improve user experience and this one is no different. For example, a while back you used to be able to post fake reviews on a company’s Google local page and it would increase their rankings a lot. This was misleading to potential consumers who were honestly trying to decide whether or not to use someone’s services or buy their products. Google caught onto this and cracked down… big time. Back in the fall of 2013, there was a group of 19 companies who were fined a collective $350,000 for “false-advertising.” (You can read more about that story here.)
So, that brings us back to the doozy rolling out on April 21st (aka “Mobilegeddon”). What is it you ask? Well, here’s the statement from Google… “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Ok, thanks, but what does that mean in real-people talk? It means that if your website isn’t mobile-friendly on April 21st then you’re going to take a hit in the search results.
What is “mobile-friendliness”?
Have you ever visited a website from your phone and it’s so teeny tiny that you have to pinch and zoom into one corner of it, then pinch and zoom out to see the whole thing and then pinch and zoom in to see the other corner, etc. etc. etc. That website is NOT “mobile-friendly”. Mobile-friendly websites are either strictly “mobile” sites or something called “responsive” websites. Mobile sites are optimized for mobile viewers (phone and tablet) and they typically have less content, different navigation system, etc. Responsive sites are called that because they respond to the size of the device you are using. It’s very user-friendly and changes appearance depending on whether you are viewing it on a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.
What are the benefits of a Responsive Website?[bcm_column size=”two-third” position=”first” fade_in=”false”] – Well for one, you won’t be dinged by Google after April 21st for not being “mobile-friendly”.
– Secondly, it has a more cost-effective lifetime cost. When you build a responsive website all future updates related to content can be done in one place instead of having to update multiple sites. If you update your content often you are going to be fed up after a couple of weeks by having to update multiple sites.
– Thirdly, it looks better. I can’t remember the name of the site now, but not too long ago I was viewing a website on my tablet and the text was so huge and they buttons took up so much room on the screen that I felt like the website was screaming at me. (You know, like when someone sends you a text in all caps and you’re thinking what have I done to offend this person?!?) The reason the website appeared to be yelling was that they had a “mobile” website instead of a “responsive” one. The website didn’t care that I was on a tablet, all it recognized was that I was on a mobile device and that’s the size it showed me. If I was viewing it on my phone it would have looked fine. On the other hand, if this company had chosen a “responsive” design, it would have kindly adjusted to the mid-size device I was on and would have been very pleasant to view.
So, there it is. You have officially been warned now. Visit your website on your phone and on your desktop and compare the views. If they look identical and you can’t see the website on your phone without a magnifying glass then you don’t have a “mobile-friendly” website.
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Help! My Website Isn’t Mobile-Friendly… what do I do?!
Contact Big City Marketing today and let us help save you from “Mobilegeddon”