Readers of our blog and social media will know that we have been warning people for the past year that this is about to happen, and yesterday we had plenty of evidence in our inbox from Google notifications that the day had arrived!
From now on your WEBSITE RANKING WILL BE DECIDED ON HOW GOOD YOUR SITE IS ON A MOBILE DEVICE. Your desktop site, which you have worked so hard on making it look great on a PC doesn’t officially count now.
So what does this mean?
The short answer is – we don’t know yet. It is the same every time the giant search engine makes a massive change to their platform; we now have to wait and see exactly how the sites are being seen and judged, and then get an action plan in place for those that drop.
We have already been preparing clients’ sites in anticipation for the move, optimising them for speed and page landing times. Ensuring the graphics are being loaded, or not loaded, if they aren’t absolutely essential on mobile: a pretty site on a phone is almost redundant as functionality takes a lead.
Yesterday I rechecked a website which we are doing some SEO work on as a week ago Google mobile checker was declaring it as “not mobile friendly”. The hyperlinks on the page footer were very close together and a week ago that was enough to condemn the site, now just 7 days later it seems the algorithm for checking this functionality has changed again – and the site is now considered “mobile friendly” when used on a Google Smartphone (the defining tool it seems). The moral of the story here is to check and check again until everything settles down. The changes we could have made to this site would have cost the company money, and yes, there are still warnings about the “tap targets” (links and buttons you hit with your finger on a phone) but the site is no longer being actively penalised for this.
For now we will keep a weather eye on our clients’ sites, looking for unexplained drops in ranking and organic traffic. There will be casualties but we will be prepared to move as soon as we know exactly what Google wants now to make your site rank well; experience tells us that apart from the obvious, this will take a little while to bottom out and speculation will be rife.
For now we are advising people to run their sites back through the mobile checker (link button on this page) and to ensure that their websites load well and swiftly on a mobile device, that they have pages that are not over cluttered – or too long – who hates scrolling forever on a mobile? And personally I want to visit sites that don’t eat all my data up with huge images that tell me nothing!