When Google plays with its search algorithm, those affected – and that includes just about everyone these days, let’s face it – do well to pay attention and analyze the implications of any changes to it.
In 2015, given the long-term and ongoing upward trend in mobile device use for online browsing, it’s little surprise that Google is adjusting its search rating algorithm to favor websites that are designed for mobile devices, or are at least mobile-friendly. And while the newly implemented algorithm will not have any impact on results for searches on desktops or laptops, it is widely expected that those websites that are non-responsive will be taking big hits when it comes to smartphone searches.
Mobile websites at the top of searches on smartphones and tablets
Websites that Google defines as mobile-friendly will get higher ratings for searches and thus be more likely to appear at the top of searches carried out on smartphones and tablets. Considering that positioning on mobile search results is if anything even more critical than on desktops or klaptops – mobile browsers are less likely to continue searching past the first few results than desktop users – the effects on businesses and their bottom lines may well be immediate and significant.
More and more people use mobile for shopping and services
Compounding this effect is the reality than increasing numbers of people are using mobile devices as their primary means of searching for and comparing products, restaurants and services. Businesses are likely to find drastic changes in the numbers of mobile visitors their websites receive. Whether that change is positive or negative will depend on if their site is responsive or not, or if they have a site specifically designed for smartphone browsing.
Speedy, Responsive Websites for Mobile Search Success
In response to this major tweak in Google’s much-discussed and closely-guarded algorithm, businesses and website creators need to be mindful of some important facts.
• Crucial for a website to load quickly on mobile.
• If your sites snooze, you lose.
• Users need to have quick visual and touch access to all major buttons
• Users to easily find categories, loading shopping carts and checking out, etc.
• Think vertical architecture to absolutely avoid left-to-right swiping.
Small and medium business must have responsive websites
This ranking adjustment has been a long time coming from Google – the company has been pushing for responsiveness in websites for years, in response to the long-term trend toward mobile over desktop/laptop that it has been tracking – and yet the fact remains that many medium- and small-sized businesses have been slow to make the needed changes, and still feature websites designed for desktops.
Investment is key
In the view of many of these companies, the argument for investing in a new responsive website has not been compelling enough up to now, but with an estimated 30% of searches now being undertaken on mobile platforms, and with the new Google ranking system about to weigh heavily in favor of mobile-friendly websites, the time is now to make your site responsive, unless you want to wake up on page 2 – or 3, or 4! – of the results of searches your potential customers are making on their smartphones.