Are You Ready for Mobile Search?Tom Hart
Google changed their algorithm to serve only mobile compatible search results to mobile users. This Mobile-Friendly Ranking Factor was added to the mobile search algorithm on April 21.
Google says this is on a page-by-page and real-time basis. So if you have some pages on your website that are mobile-friendly and some that are not, then only the pages that are mobile-friendly will benefit.
By real-time we believe Google means that they will be constantly re-checking which pages are mobile compatible.
Many websites have sub-sections or specialized pages that would be hard to make mobile-friendly as well as pages or pages that are not important to search such as tech documents for internal use so we don’t need to worry about being completely mobile-friendly.
Simply put, the more web pages you have mobile ready the more you’ll benefit.
Do You Need to Worry about Mobile Search?
Let the Numbers Speak
If you have installed Google Analytics or some other advanced visitor tracking platform you’ll be able to easily see how many of your visitors are coming from mobile devices. We’ve seen everything from as little as a few percent of visitors (an industrial wholesaler) to nearly all (an apartment rental site catering to younger people).
In Google Analytics, you could find out how many of your users are on mobile devices under Audience > Mobile.
If you don’t have tracking software on your site you should get something installed. Maybe not to know if you should be changing your site to make it mobile responsive, but you will need it.
How Can You Tell if Your Site is Mobile Ready?
If you can take a look at your site on a mobile phone, preferably a small phone. Can you see everything? Easily click on the menus? Or is your site on the phone just a small version of the full site, causing you to pinch and pull to read some of the text or scroll around to read others? Are the links tiny and hard to hit? Obviously, this isn’t good for mobile users and Google (like it or not) is just trying to give mobile users what they want to see. Everyone who has in the past used a mobile device for search has been frustrated by pages that are difficult or impossible to read or navigate.
For most sites, being mobile compatible means that the website responds to what the size of the screen, which web developers call being ‘responsive’. Just last month Bower Web Solution’s published a blog on just how to tell if your site is responsive. Read it for more details.
So what this change in the algorithm comes down to is that if you want to attract mobile users you need more than ever to make your site compatible for mobile devices. And remember, just because you don’t use a smartphone and neither do most of your current clients, there is a very good chance that many of your potential clients do use a smartphone to search for information.