In 2014, data revealed that more than 30 percent of all searches came from a mobile device, while in the year to date this has increased to over 60 percent. As such, Google is changing its search algorithm to reward sites that are mobile optimised.
This is one of the biggest changes to the Google algorithm in years and must be taken seriously. A site’s “mobile friendliness” will now play a much bigger role in the way it is ranked, and sites that are not optimised will now appear lower in search results.
The algorithm will now scan single pages on a website, checking page load times and responsive design best practices. For now searches on tablets won’t be affected, but this is likely to be coming soon as well.
Specifics to note are the use of text sizes that are readable without zooming, content that responds to different screen sizes and spacing links so tapping the correct one isn’t tough for users. The use of Flash is also now a big issue as it is not commonly supported on mobile devices and Google will penalise sites that still use it.
It’s worth noting that the algorithm is applied page-by-page and not to the website as a whole. This means that as different pages become mobile friendly they can start to benefit from the SEO boost available to them. The general consensus is for the focus to be on optimising your homepage and other commonly used areas of the site above areas that are used less… Makes sense! This information can be gathered from Google Analytics or Googles Webmaster tools, freely available to everyone. Google now also offer a ‘mobile friendliness system’ for checking your website against Googles specs that can also be reached and utilised from within Webmaster tools.
Google will also be taking into account the usability of a site – so how many clicks it takes to perform a particular task – meaning that avoiding convoluted processes for making purchases or bookings for example, should help to boost mobile SEO.
If you’re a business that works hard to optimise the mobile experience for customers you’ll benefit from improved mobile SEO over competitors that are lagging behind. On the other hand, if you are lagging behind on mobile but have a great desktop site, your ranking on the latter will remain unaffected.
If we consider the rate at which mobile search is exploding – especially in emerging markets that are mobile first – the opportunity being offered to businesses is huge. Google’s algorithm will make it more competitive so it’s worth making the changes before your profits see the hit.
If you are looking to grow your business in 2015 or you are considering developing your online presence, Motiv can help.
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