This month Google is about to release their latest algorithm, and while most times these don’t affect too many sites, this latest one is set to have a massive affect on many sites, if they are not ready.
As many site owners and SEO specialists know, the previous big algorithm update of Panda affected around 12% of all English searches, and this next update is set to affect a lot more.
Google has always been about ensuring the quality of the content available through its search results are of a high quality and authority. Gone are the days when dodgy internet marketers used single landing pages filled with keyword-stuffed text to attract visitors to their sites. This is of no value to anyone (other than the marketer), and Google realised that, and changed their algorithms to ensure only the sites with high quality, original and natural content was of value.
The new algorithm goes the next step, targeting sites that are non-responsive. Around 65% of all visitor traffic to all websites is now from a mobile device, yet fewer than 25$ of all websites are built in a mobile-friendly environment. If the visitor can’t see your site content such as navigation or enquiry forms easily then your site has little value. It’s a bit like building a highrise without a life. Sure you can get to the top, but it’s a lot harder.
Google’s primary goal is to provide you quality content, so they figure the best way to force website owners to move into the decade of providing mobile-friendly content is easy…penalise them and make them update.
If your website is not prepared for this you’ll get a notification in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) when someone searched from a mobile device, telling them your site is NOT ready for their device. A little embarrassing if you are a professional business, isn’t it!
The effect of not being mobile responsive can be huge, and detrimental for your business rankings, and your business in general.
As a web development and SEO company, Smartfish.com.au receive around 85% of all new business through it’s Google rankings. These are the free first page listings on Google, not paid listings. By being a mobile-friendly site not only gets the site in Google’s good books, but also lowers the bounce rate to below 1.5% (many websites are over 50%!), which pushes up our quality score, pagerank and authority overall, perceiving the site as a valuable and trusting site, so Google rewards the site with first page rankings for over 45 popular search terms for the business.
For Smartfish, this means it keeps the business very, very business all year round, and all from a good ranking on Google for being mobile-responsive.
So ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is critical, and not hard to do.
Here are three free tools to ensure your site is mobile friendly.
Google have been nice enough to provide a tool which tests your current site to see if it is mobile-ready. Simply enter your website URL on the link below and it checks.
Great tool, though I have found it to often give incorrect results on sites that are definitely not mobile-friendly. Google need to work on fine tuning it a bit still.
Still, it checks core areas such as is the content is wider than the screen, or the text is too small for mobile viewing, or if links are too close so that trying to tap them on a mobile is hard.
This is a much more accurate checker, and also pinpoints the areas where the site needs improvement.
This handy website does exactly as the name says, it grades the quality of your website as well as your online marketing efforts and provide a score out of 100. There is a mobile component to the report which will tell you exactly how well, or poor, your site is doing. It also will give additional non-mobile information such as how your social media is performing from your site, your online marketing such as lead generation efforts, blogging etc. This combined information is a benefit for any website owner that wants a good ranking.
Combining these three tools, and you should get a pretty good idea if your website is going to be affected by Google’s latest mobile-related algorithms changes at the end of April 2015.
Ensuring your site is mobile responsive can be the difference to whether you appear on Google, or you don’t, so now is a good time to prepare your site.
Article by Chris Bourke, Sunshine Coast SEO specialist and mobile-responsive web developer at Smartfish Creative