Late last year, Google introduced a “Mobile-Friendly Test” which allowed companies to test the responsiveness of their websites. Given that more than half (60%) of all Google searches currently come from mobile devices, it only makes sense for Google to further prioritize the importance of a mobile experience. As of April 21, 2015, the new algorithm will penalize websites without a mobile experience with lower organic search rankings.
Why the change? “As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns,” Google stated in their announcement. “Users will (soon) find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” The change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact on search results.
The new algorithm is predicted to have a large impact on ecommerce sites, as decreased rankings can cost online retailers a significant amount of organic search traffic – and ultimately – sales.
Google has been clear in stating that there is no spectrum of “mobile-friendliness” – a site either has a mobile experience or it does not. The easiest way to know if your site is mobile-friendly is to Google your site on a mobile device. If there is a gray mobile-friendly label in the description snippet, your site is mobile-friendly. You can also use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Websites without a mobile experience can expect to notice changes in their search rankings almost immediately (as the algorithm rolls out over the course of a week).
What percentage of your users are on a mobile device? Interested to know how you can best engage your mobile users with a mobile experience? Starkmedia can help.
To learn more about responsive design, check out our whitepaper.