Google Makes Mobile Friendliness a Ranking Factor for Websites

11 March 2015

In one of our earlier posts we reported that Google were sending out millions of emails to websites which were not mobile friendly. According to a new update from Google’s Webmaster Central blog, we can now see that this was because Google are now making plans to change their search engine ranking algorithm to include mobile ranking elements.

Previously, mobile user experience was never used as a ranking factor. Now someone using a mobile device to search Google will be more likely to be shown websites that offer excellent mobile user experience over non-mobile friendly websites. So if you want your website to maintain a strong position within Google’s organic mobile search engine results you need to make sure it is mobile friendly.

Test Your Website’s Mobile Compatibilty

If you are not sure whether your website is mobile friendly, Google has a helpful tool where you can test individual website URLs. Google Webmaster Tools will also list any mobile user issues your website may have.

Google Mobile Friendly Test The Growing Usage of Mobile Devices – The Facts

  • Mobile usage now typically accounts for 10 – 20% of website traffic (dependent on industry sector)
  • In 2011, only 30% of the UK population owned a smartphone, but within two years, the figure had risen to 62%.
  • In 2013, there were 30.9 million smartphone users in the UK; the figure is projected to rise to 43.4 million by 2017.
  • Google statistics indicate that 14% of people used a smartphone to make their last purchase and UK smartphone owners are more likely to make an online purchase using their device than users from any other European country.

Things you should know about Google’s New Mobile Friendly Algorithm Factors

The mobile friendly algorithm update officially kicks in on April 21st 2015, but Google has said that since the algorithm works in ‘real-time’, you can start making the necessary changes to your website immediately. As soon as the Google robots crawl across your website and detect the changes you make, your ranking will benefit. But if you aren’t able to update the site now, at least make sure your pages are mobile friendly by April 21st.

The other important thing you need to know about the mobile-friendly algorithm is that it works on a page-by-page basis, so each page on a website is treated independently. In practice, this means you don’t need to have a meltdown worrying about every single page on your website. If your website runs to hundreds of pages and making changes is going to be labour intensive, concentrate on the most important pages first so that at least these can benefit from a ranking boost.

Mobile usage is likely to explode in the next year. Making any necessary changes will help your website to rank well within mobile search. Businesses who fail to adapt to these changes run the risk of missing out on a rapidly expanding marketplace, so if you need any help with making your website mobile friendly get in touch with us today.