The internet has changed. It doesn’t happen often – we like to think it does – but for the most part the internet is the same place it’s always been. How we connect with the internet has changed the most over the past decade with mobile phones and tablets giving us easier access to search engines and websites.
According to Nielson Ratings about 84% of television viewers say they use their mobile phone or their tablet as a second screen while watching TV, similarly about 61% of the web is experienced through a handheld device. That is a big change.
Responding to this Google is making one of the largest changes to their algorithm in history. I’m usually the first to calm fears of massive Google changes but this is one of those rare exceptions – and you could even argue this is the first change of it’s scale in the history of Google or search engines.
Starting April 21st Google is going to be giving priority to websites that are mobile friendly in mobile search results. This will not impact desktop search results (probably) but for the first time in history you will have a desktop ranking and a mobile ranking and they may not be the same, in fact they likely won’t be.
If results 1, 2 and 3 are old school sites that are not mobile friendly but #4 is mobile-friendly then when you search those keywords on a mobile device you’re going to see #4 suddenly jump to #1 with the non-mobile friendly results pushed down.
Yep, that’s huge.
So right of the bat, you better make sure that your website is mobile friendly. We went through our client list and 100% of the websites that we built were built to be fully responsive so they are all mobile-friendly, but our own site is many years old before responsive design became popular so we had a brief panic.
The Cobbler’s kids certainly had no shoes in our case, but we were able to get into the WordPress code and translate the design into a responsive format, so we too have joined the Fifty First and a Half century and can now be viewed fully in mobile.
Curious if your website is mobile-friendly? Google your brand’s name, if next to your result in Google does not say “mobile-friendly” then you have some work to do.
This really is huge, and while the landscape is likely to change dramatically in the short term, most websites will likely catch up and become mobile friendly causing the search rankings to go back to normal once all websites make the change BUT – and this is a but so big it would make Becky say “OMG” – for the first few months this is a great opportunity to get ahead of competitor websites that have been outranking you for a while.
We were speaking at a mastermind group that all had mobile-friendly websites but many of their competitors did not. So those companies are going to see a jump in rankings until such a time as their competitors build and launch mobile-friendly websites, which can often take months if not built by us (our average site launches in about two weeks).
So if your website is already mobile-friendly, enjoy the bump in traffic from improved rankings on mobile devices, and for those who don’t have a mobile-friendly website?
Time to get to work!
HEY YOU! – This is our first web comic, which is pretty exciting, thank you as always to Elena Trofimchuk for all of her artistic talents.