Google’s new mobile site changes and how they affect you


mobile friendly website design

April 21. It’s the day business owners across the globe were dreading thanks to the looming Google algorithm changes which were to penalise websites that, among other things, weren’t mobile friendly.

Thankfully, Google gave us enough notice that many millions of businesses were able to prepare for the changes, so they avoided what was being dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’. However, not everyone was able to ready themselves in time and, for them, we’ve put together a handy guide to what they can do post-April 21 to get their sites updated in accordance with Google’s sweeping changes.

Of course, by now your website will have been judged by Google’s new algorithm on it’s mobile responsiveness and ranked against more than half of Australia’s biggest companies, who will all but disappear from Google search results on mobile devices.

If you’ve already embraced mobile-friendly design, congratulations, your site most likely survived the great cull of April 21! For those who don’t know if they’ve transitioned or not, you can find out using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Should your test results come back negative, don’t panic. Here’s what the changes means for you and how you can get a responsive website to bring your site up to speed:

First of all, you’re not alone.

Digital strategist Ewan Watt reveals that 66% of Australia’s websites are not mobile-friendly. Sure, that’s the majority, but there’s nothing cool about being in this group. This is not a case of safety in numbers; it’s a case of having an opportunity to one-up competitors that are yet to make the move to mobile – it’s your chance to get a head start in what’s soon to be a crowded race!

Let’s get some perspective

#Mobilegeddon, as Search Engine Land refers to it, only affects mobile searches, so your desktop search and even tablet ranking will remain unscathed. As of January 2015 however, mobile internet usage in Australia accounted for 29.67% of all usage, with 93.65% of all searches made using Google. In a nutshell, mobile internet usage is increasing exponentially every year and Google is the most powerful search engine in the universe. Unless you play by Google’s rules, your mobile website ranking will pay its dues.

Labels

As algorithms go, there are multiple determining factors that will decide where in listings your website appears on mobile devices. After taking into the account these factors, Google will identify whether or not your site is mobile-friendly and label you accordingly, using a text label beneath the URL in the search preview displaying “Mobile-friendly”. According to Search Engine Land, to attain this coveted label, your website must meet the following criteria:

  • display links with enough space between them so the chosen link can be selected without accidentally pressing nearby hyperlinked text…Chubby fingers rejoice!
  • size content and text to fit mobile screens meaning users don’t need to zoom or scroll relentlessly in any direction…Single-handedly THE most annoying feature of unresponsive sites.
  • avoid software like Flash, now rarely used on mobile devices…Pretty to look at, clumsy to load!

For more ways to keep the Google bots happy, see their Webmaster’s 7 common mistakes with mobile SEO.

What do I do now?

Here’s what NOT to do: sit around and wait until you feel ready make the transition to a responsive site. It’s not about you; it’s about your customers’ increasingly mobile search habits and your competitors that are showing up pages before your listing ever will. For a simple website, it can take as little as a couple of hours for Google to completely crawl your site and establish eligibility for the Mobile-friendly label, but it may take as long as a couple of weeks for the algorithm to be completely rolled out world-wide in every language. For more on the timelines, see Google’s Q&A below.

And, of course, if you need your website redesigned, don’t forget to call our

 

All aboard the mobile train!

Unless you have a dedicated web designer at ready to help with your move into Google’s new mobile search space, consider Easy Weddings’ website design packages and support services, including mobile-friendly design, two years’ domain registration and 12 months’ Australian-based hosting. Give our Customer Care team a call on 1800 155 122 to learn about how we can help you keep up with Google’s latest algorithm changes, or leave your website URL in the comments and our design team will be in touch to discuss your readiness for #Mobilegeddon.


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