Google made an important announcement in late February that may affect your website’s rankings in Google. In fact, this happens to be a pretty significant change for your Google rankings, especially for your mobile traffic.
What was the announcement?
Websites will be ranked and marked as mobile friendly in Google search results beginning on the 21st of April 2015 (taking into account time zone differences, most likely this means from Wednesday the 22nd in Australia).
In summary, to quote the Google Webmaster Central blog/Google+:
This is the first major update in recent times from the leading search engine in Australia that will affect mobile rankings, and more specifically, is expected to significantly affect the display of the organic search results of your website on mobile devices.
Will this affect your current website?
If it’s been a while since your website was designed and developed, it may not be optimised for mobiles. If this is the case, or if you’re unsure, you can check if your website is mobile-friendly.
If your website already passes Google’s mobile-friendliness test, great! Your rankings in mobile search are most likely set to improve. If you’re unsure, or if your website fails the mobile-friendliness test, continue reading on, as this may affect your business.
How will this affect non-mobile-friendly websites?
If more mobile friendly sites are to appear on the first page of mobile search results, this also means that websites that fail Google’s test risk potential deranking (if other websites competing for the same keywords are mobile friendly).
While this isn’t expected to change results for searches from desktop computers, if your website has a significant amount of traffic sourced from mobile searches, you may expect a fall in Google rankings. Also if no steps are taken to make your website mobile-friendly, you should also expect a corresponding drop in mobile traffic.
In terms of directly affecting your business, if your website conversions (eg bookings, sales, phone calls & contacts) are significantly sourced (ie ~33% or more) from organic mobile searches, then steps to make your website mobile-friendly should be taken as soon as possible.
With access to the Google Analytics for your website (you can ask us for access), you can have a quick check of these key statistics through this shared Analytics dashboard (click to install and use).
How can I make my website mobile friendly and retain my mobile rankings?
You can follow Google’s guidelines for mobile optimisation, and within the Google Webmaster Tools account for your website (Alltraders set one up for every site we launch with SEO) are specific areas of your website highlighted with associated instructions to resolve the issues detected. It’s then a case of performing the recommended design/developmental changes directly to the website.
Alternatively, if you’d like people who live and breath this stuff to resolve these issues for you, give our Web Department a call on 08 7327 7170, and we’ll advise you on each of these points and how we can make these changes to help ensure your rankings remain high.
Links and related reading:
In other news, the announcement coincidentally happened a couple of days after I became a Father (woo!), but that’s another story.