You’ve heard it before, but now it’s official. Mobile-optimization is crucial for search engine optimization in pursuit of better rankings. In a somewhat unprecedented move, Google recently took to their Webmaster Blog to announce that come the 21st of April, website mobile-friendliness will be an official ranking signal in their mobile search algorithm. They also did not fail to mention that they foresee this having a significant impact in global search results.
Google makes changes to their algorithm all the time, so what makes this announcement so special? This isn’t a Panda, Penguin or any other cute animal release we’re talking about. As always, Google has made this decision to benefit the end user, but this time around the intention is not to penalize sites and practices that are trying to cheat the system. Also unlike those releases, with this statement, Google is giving fair warning and a deadline. April 21st is the magic day where local businesses can begin to either see more traffic to their site or finally experience the consequences of not yet going responsive.
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” - Google Webmaster Blog
GOOD NEWS FOR EXISTING CUSTOMERS
So what can you do to help your customers avoid losing traffic and business come the 21st of April? Well luckily any sites you have built in Mono over the past year are likely already responsive and prior to that, if you leveraged the mobile site option, no changes need to be made. It’s always a good idea to check in with your customers, though and just double check their site is in good standing. Google offers a great free tool to check if a website is considered mobile friendly.
90% OF SMBS DO NOT HAVE A MOBILE-OPTIMIZED SITE
But perhaps the bigger opportunity is for new sales. Most SMBs have likely heard the buzz around responsive websites or websites optimized for mobile, but have yet to take action. In fact, research suggests that 90% of SMBs in the US still do not have a mobile optimized site.
You might be trying to make the argument for mobile-optimized sites already, but now you have the power of Google’s word to convince SMBs that the time is now. They need a website and it absolutely needs to be mobile optimized. While dedicated mobile sites might work for some, Responsive design is ultimately what works best for most SMBs.
Responsive design, specifically with Mono, offers the ability to customize the mobile experience to convert users on the go. Any given content element can be set to show only mobile devices (e.g. a tap to call button high up on the page) and vice versa. So while the site already wins the ticket with Google, it will also give end customers the best experience and drive more leads and sales for the individual SMB.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
The argument to move to responsive design is not a new one, but it’s now an urgent requirement to ensure traffic levels do not drop come the 21st of April. What’s more, SMBs may actually experience increased traffic if they make the switch before their competitors do. In this respect, time is of the essence.
So what if a site is not ready by 11:59pm on the 20th? No need to panic. Google has confirmed that the algorithm will update in real time. This means that just as soon as a site becomes mobile friendly, it will start seeing better results in mobile searches. However, losing traffic for any length of time is never good, so ‘ASAP’ is still a good rule of thumb in terms of how quickly your customers should react.
Contact us for a demo or a quick conversation to learn how you can help SMBs with a mobile-friendly site.
Global Marketing Manager