In a very rare move by Google, the search giant recently announced a major new ranking signal for its search results. In the article, they confirm not having a mobile or responsive (another word for mobile friendly) website will have a “significant impact” on search starting Tuesday, April 21.
Google is a little like KFC, except that instead of a secret combination of 11 herbs and spices, Google combines over 200 things about your website, called “ranking signals” in their mixing bowls that they rarely share. A lot of people suspect that the Colonel’s secret recipe contains paprika and the same type of speculation is often shared about ranking signals. For this reason, for Google to come right out and publish a confirmed ranking signal, a lot of people in the Search Engine Optimization world immediately took notice.
So how does this affect you?
For anyone with a website, I would encourage you to pause and think about how this affects you. Studies show that the average website receives roughly 33% to 38% of its traffic from mobile devices, and most arrive via a search engine. This means that since this change only affects mobile searches, in just over a month fully one-third of your site visitors may not be able to find you when searching on Google any more.
If you fire up your iPhone, open a browser, visit google.ca, and conduct a search, you’ll notice the results that are served to you now contain a small tag about the site’s mobile friendliness. Starting April 21, the results on this type of search will be reordered based on whether Google sees your site as mobile friendly or not. While we’re not sure if Google will simply downgrade the mobile unfriendly sites or remove them all together, only time will tell.
Will my site be affected?
Google has provided a handy Mobile-Friendly Test tool that will analyze your page and let you know if your site makes the cut. If not, the results page provide tips and recommendations to make your site compliant. Making a mobile unfriendly site friendly may require a budget decision as it can require some serious development, so it is important to take a moment to ask yourself about your online goals and see how much traffic arrives at your site by looking at your site statistics.
Either way, if you’ve read this far, now is a good time to ask yourself what steps you need to take. If you need help in any way, Intoria is available to chat with you about your current mobile traffic and discuss with what you need to do to make your website mobile friendly. If we can help please call Clarke at 403-726-0008, extension 11.