Google is increasingly making websites that offer a true mobile user experience more important, by ranking them higher and highlighting them with a “for mobile” tag in the search results. So your website or online store better be optimized for mobile devices, because you will notice the difference soon.
Google recently sent a warning out to webmasters whose sites have issues on mobile devices. The warnings were sent via email (example) and Webmaster Tools, and highlight how pages have “critical mobile usability errors”. It states that “these pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.” In other words, in a time where more and more people are searching using their mobile devices, websites that aren’t mobile-friendly will rank lower for such users. According to Search Engline Land this could be a sign a new mobile algorithm is coming soon.
Google told the news hub it’s experimenting with a new mobile ranking algorithm since November last year. It already launched a mobile-friendly testing tool, mobile usability reports in Google Webmaster Tools, as well as mobile-friendly labels in the search results.
Google believes strongly in the popularity of mobile browsing. With the warnings now and the upcoming algorithm changes, it goes way further than when it announced a change in rankings of smartphone search results back in June 2013. And it’s not just sending warnings to webmasters having problems with their mobile-friendly sites, it’s directly targeting sites that are knowingly not mobile-friendly.
And can we blame them? Not really. A recent finding from IMRG and Capgemini shows that more than one in three (37%) online sales this Christmas happened via smartphones and mobile devices, a 55% increase from the previous year. Mobile traffic keeps on rising, so it’s no surprise Google will eventually (sooner than later, really) update its search algorithms, so there’s a better acceptance of mobile-friendly sites for mobile users.
So, if you have a website that ranks pretty well in Google, don’t sit on your laurels but make sure your website is mobile-friendly. You don’t want to fall hard in the search engine results whenever Google decides to change its algorithm to better suit mobile users. Go mobile, just like we did…