Earlier this week, Google released its most recent algorithm for mobile friendly websites to address the influx of mobile traffic on the web. Of the 24.3 Million mobile users in Canada, 4 of every 5 have a smart phone giving them access to the internet on their device. (Comscore, 2015) So the new algorithm will reward businesses that have adapted their websites to mobile platforms with a higher search results page rank.
“As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, we want to make sure they can find content that's not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens."
- Krisztina Radosavljevic-Szilagyi, Google Spokeswoman
What Does This Mean For Me?The sky isn’t falling but it’s best you prepare for the future. A website is the only place where a company must make a great first impression every time and where many buyers are exposed to a brand for the first time. But, if they can’t find your site or it doesn’t adapt to the device users are on, they are unlikely to identify with your brand or product offering.
Google has a tool to determine if a website is in fact mobile friendly – CLICK HERE to test your website. When doing a web audit there are a few crucial factors to consider:
• Text size: Is the copy readable without zooming.
• Screen Fit: Does the content on your site fit into the screen. I.e. photos, floorplans, etc.
• Spacing: Are the links clickable without hitting the wrong button.
• Flash: Not commonly supported on mobile devices – does not rank well.
• User Experience: How many clicks does it take to perform a desired task.
What Has Not Changed?The short answer – great content. Google will continue to scan the web for relevant, keyword-rich sites. However, pages that are mobile friendly will be ranked higher on mobile device search engine results pages. If you have a great desktop site, Google will still rank it well for desktop searches. In other words, Google still favours a great desktop site on its desktop search result page over one that is mobile but lacks the content to help users in their search query.
What Should You Do?You don’t need an entirely new website…yet. Google’s new algorithm will continue to check each website on a page by page basis. This means that not all your web pages need to be responsive immediately. But if your website is not responsive, it’s a good idea to change the pages that are most commonly used, such as the homepage and product pages.
While the new Google algorithm won’t have a significant impact on the desktop user experience, it is impossible to deny the need for a mobile friendly website based on the increasing number of users that access the web via mobile device.