Yesterday, 21st April 2015, was officially “Mobile-geddon!” As Google made a major update to its mobile search algorithm.
Users searching on their mobile phones will now receive search results that favour mobile-friendly websites. Websites that aren’t mobile friendly will be demoted.
It’s easy to see why Google have done this. With about 60% of all web traffic now coming from mobile devices, Google is making sure it’s customers get what they want – to have a good experience whenever they click on a site.
Mobile users want quick simple access to websites. As a mobile user myself the last thing I need when viewing a site on my ageing iPhone is to pinch, zoom and scroll my way around – even if the content is exactly what I’m looking for.
And I’m not alone, more and more people are ditching the desktop and searching on mobile. So it is nothing short of essential for any small business to become mobile friendly.
Were you prepared for Mobile-geddon?
The change was announced back in February, but unfortunately for many small businesses it seems to have passed them by.
Our research into SME Website Effectiveness in February showed that a worrying 70% of small business websites were not optimised for mobile devices.
The danger could be, that waking up this morning, your website has tumbled down the mobile search rankings. For small businesses that rely on local search like shops, cafes etc. this could prove disastrous – hence “Mobile-geddon!”
What to do?
The first thing to do is to test your business website using Google’s test to see if Google acknowledges your webpage as mobile-friendly. If it isn’t then contacting your Webmaster is a must. Even then there are a number of options you can consider.
- The Mobile Friendly Option
Mobile friendly sites display accurately on both standard computers and mobile devices. But the content appears smaller on the mobile device and may not be as responsive. Although this option is the easiest to accomplish at little cost, it’s not always the best – the site can be unresponsive in some circumstances and may also be reduced in quality.
- Mobile Optimised Option
This more advanced option is where the website reformats itself to the mobile device. It will often appear with larger navigation buttons and reformatted content to render well in a smaller screen. Touch points are important with mobile optimsed sites, as well as reduced graphics that don’t interrupt the positioning of crucial content.
- Responsive Design Option
This option is the preferred and more flexible regardless of device, though it is costly for older websites, as a full redesign is required. Rather than detecting a specific browser type or device type, the website automatically orientates itself based on the screen size. A combination of reformatting and re-optimising the site as a whole give a practical flexibility and allows the site to render well in all formats.
If you’ve woken this morning to find a dramatic reduction of footfall to your website, then Mobile-geddon might just be the cause. By taking steps now, you can make sure that footfall pops back up again, and doesn’t affect the bottom line.