April 21, 2015 Google Released New Algorithmn
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
What does this mean for you?
With over 60% of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, Google has now taken an increasing effort to give page ranking prominence to websites that are mobile friendly and responsive. This is one of the biggest changes in their algorithms in years and one they announced ahead of time, and not after the fact, as they usually do. So they wanted Business Owners and Developers to be prepared that after April 21st, you may see a significant decrease or increase on where you rank on the Google’s mobile search pages.
For now, there will be little change on desktop search results. Again, I emphasize for now, but with 60% of the traffic coming through mobile, that is a large percentage of viewers that may not even find your site because you’re not showing up on Mobile Search Engine Page Results.
If you’re site is responsive, optimized and mobile-friendly, you have nothing to worry about and can now go back to work. If not, please read on. If you’re not sure, go to Google’s mobile friendly test and put in your website’s URL. If your website has an issues, they will clearly tell you what they are and how to improve them.
Is your Website Mobile-Friendly?
If your website is to be competitive on Google’s page ranking, you need to analyze your site against the following checklist:
- Responsive design so the grid responds to the screen size it is being viewed on (pc, tablet, or smartphone). With responsive design, you minimize the need for resizing, panning, and scrolling, and make the viewing experience more enjoyable for the user. Responsive design works by adapting the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids,flexible images,and CSS3 media queries.
- Fast loading webpages and graphics. Check your speed at Google’s Page Speed Test.
- Avoid small texts or busy fonts that are hard to read on smaller screens.
- Space links and buttons out so they are easy to select and click on.
- Use mobile tools like a tap-to-call buttons for mobile users’ convenience.
- Avoid using technologies or coding that is outdated or blocked on mobile devices like Flash SWF files.
- Avoid interstitial ads or app downloads. (An interstitial ad is a full-page ad that appears before the actual webpage. You can either skip the ad and go to the website or click on the ad for more information.)
- Reduce images, graphics & photos so they are web ready. The correct dpi for website graphics should be 72 dpi, and no larger than 1200-1600px width or height. Anything above that is a waste of bandwidth, which is a precious commodity for mobile users.
Mobile Apps Given More Prominence in SERP (search engine results page)
Another significant change is that mobile apps could see significantly more visibility within mobile search results pages.
“This is because Google has started treating apps as a new kind of universal search result, returning an ‘App Pack’ of Google Play results for certain searches on Android devices (shown at the right), and adding an Apps drop-down to the main nav-bar on iOS devices. An ‘App Pack’ is a group of related apps that rank together for a given query, shown together in a box separate from the inline organic search results. It has different formatting and an Apps header.” – moz.com
So if your company has an app for your brand, this is good news as your apps will potentially get more visibility and subsequently more downloads. Yet even if your site is mobile-friendly, your ranking may now take second-stage to mobile apps in the search results.
What’s the Next Step?
This change is showing a growing trend towards appeasing the significant and expanding mobile audience. Although this change is currently only affecting mobile search, its not hard to predict that it will soon affect all search engine page results eventually. If you want your website to stay competitive, I would start now in converting your site to a responsive design so you have a leg up on your competitors.
My web design company has converted many of our clients’ websites and still retained their original branding while also giving them more access to their content, added functionality as well as mobile features to increase their audience’s engagement. Call me for a free review of your current website’s mobile-friendliness!