Google often make updates and changes to the way they rank websites, but they very rarely announce them in advance. So when they do, we all should sit up and take notice.
Google have already made updates to their algorithms to adapt to the rise in searches made using mobile devices including phones, iPads and other tablets.
The search engine now checks that websites work properly on a range of mobile devices, and makes it simpler for users to find and view web pages that are mobile-friendly.
Mobilegeddon is Coming
From 21st April 2015, in a change dubbed "Mobilegeddon” by the IT press, Google will use the criteria of mobile-friendly sites as what they call a 'ranking signal'. In other words, if your site looks good and works well on mobile devices, it's likely to rank more highly in the search results (SERPS).
Exactly how it will do this is, of course, the subject of extreme secrecy from Google and intense speculation from everyone else! However, as Entrepreneur magazine suggested;
"The majority of non-optimized sites on the web could see significant decreases in search visibility."
Google clearly sees the future of search as being more mobile-based, and with good reason; we've found that for our clients here in Canada, mobile searches can account for up to 50% of their website traffic. That's a lot.
How to Test Your Website
To help website owners test out their sites, Google have created a suite of tools you can use to test how mobile-friendly your website is, including:
- a mobile usability report (via Webmaster Tools)
Akira and Mobile-Friendly Websites
At Akira, we've been designing mobile-friendly sites for years, using responsive design techniques. Responsive design allows your website to rearrange itself so that it fits onto any size of screen, PC, laptop, phone or tablet. It also ensures that your website is easy to navigate using a touch screen rather than a mouse, and a host of other 'under the hood' technical amendments that customers never actually see!
However, some older websites pre-date the standardisation of responsive design techniques, so if you're worried that your website doesn't look its best on a smart phone, give us a call. We can give your website a new look that's responsive, or find another solution. And if those test results from the Google tools show some issues, again, give us a call, and we'll work together to fix them!
For more info on responsive design, see our video on our home page here at Akira.