Listen up, site owners, bloggers and e-shop keepers. The way you do business online is about to change – forever. As of April 21st, 2015, getting your site to rank highly will depend on something entirely new: how mobile friendly it is.
Four years after the introduction of Panda and Penguin, a new change is upon us. Our favorite evergreen search engine, Google, is rolling out its latest algorithm updates which will affect search rankings in a way we’ve never seen before.
So, What Exactly is Changing?
The new algorithm Google is on the brink of introducing will favor sites that are both responsive and mobile-compatible. Old-fashioned sites (you know the ones, stiff, rigid, and designed pre-2013) will find themselves second best to their modern counterparts, regardless of how valuable or attractive they happen to be.
How Significant are the Changes?
“This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” – say Google.
It’s rare that we wake our writers up at 4 in the morning to get them to write an information piece. But with April 21st approaching rapidly, this time we had to make an exception. The significance of the changes depend on what portion of your site’s income is derived from organic searches. Without putting a concrete number in place, all we can say for now is if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you will notice dips in your revenue, and will struggle to maintain your current search ranking.
How Can I Tell if my Site is Mobile Optimized?
If you can’t get in touch with your web developer, or if your site was a DIY job, there’s a really valuable analysis tool that can help you understand how you’ll be affected by the new algorithm changes.
It’s called Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Page.
By running your site through the program, you’ll get an instant approval rating from Google themselves. They’ll rate your site on its current mobile-compatibility features and offer you tips on how to improve its performance.
While the Test Page isn’t fool-proof, it does offer you an inexpensive way to test your current set up.
What Happens if I Don’t Roll With the Changes?
This is a safe place. You can ask all of the unpopular questions here, without fear of upsetting the all-knowing search-engines.
So what if you just… stay as you are? If you’re unable, unwilling or too stubborn to change, your traffic levels and revenue will be affected, but not quite enough to put you out of business.
You’ll lose a large proportion of your organic mobile search traffic – seeing as Google are likely to demote you significantly on mobile search results if you don’t play ball – but you’ll retain much of your desktop traffic.
But That Isn’t as Attractive as it Seems…
Desktop traffic alone is no longer enough to keep you at the top of the mountain. In fact, being the king of desktop search results is nothing to brag about in general anymore.
According to the latest figures compiled by Bing Mobile, in the last 6 months, mobile traffic has exceeded desktop traffic, and those figures are only going one way – skywards, baby.
How Do I Get on Top of These Changes?
If you’re harboring ambitions of conquering the digital world, or even just generating a chunk of revenue from it, now is the time you need to be thinking about changing. Hopefully, you’ve been asking this question the whole way through our article. But if you haven’t, we’ll give you a pass this time. You aren’t the first webmaster to be overwhelmed by this news.
To stay ahead of the new algorithm change, Google has recommended 3 steps for you to take.
1. Make your site optimized for mobile. This means it’s responsive and fully functional on all major mobile platforms.
2. If the Webmaster Tool spotted any usability issues, address them immediately. Chances are they will affect your future ranking.
3. Monitor your web figures carefully before, during and after the rollout.
A few additional improvements to your site will probably be all that it takes for you to breeze through the rollout. Begin planning these improvements now, so you’re not caught out like a large number of webmasters are expected to be. Google has decided the future is mobile. Embrace it!
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