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Thu Dec 17 2015

Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm Now Released

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Google’s Webmaster Trend Analyst, Zineb Ait Bahajji has been quoted as saying the new mobile-friendly algorithm launched today will impact more websites than their Panda or Penguin algorithm updates.

Straight from Google themselves, you need to be taking notice of this change and get ready (if you’re not already). Here’s what the change means and how it affects you.

What does Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm mean?

Put simply, the algorithm now rewards websites that are mobile-friendly. With a larger percentage of people now searching on their mobile devices (it’s estimated around 50% of searches are now on mobile) as compared to desktops, the algorithm seeks to improve search results for users by providing relevant, high-quality search results that are optimised for their devices.

If your website is not fully optimised for mobile devices, you are likely to see a significant hit to your search ranking in search results as of today.

How to Check Your Website for Mobile-Friendliness

Don’t be fooled by thinking that if your website loads on mobile it is mobile-friendly. That is not the case at all. When your website loads on mobile, is it just the same version as the desktop version meaning you need to pinch, scroll, expand and contract the screen to be able to use the site? If so, your site is probably not optimised for mobile. Double-check your website by visiting:

Enter your website and click Analyse. Google will let you know whether the site is mobile-friendly or not:

My Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly. HELP!

Ok, so you’ve plugged your website into the link above and found out your site isn’t optimised for mobile. It’s time to move quickly and get optimised to ensure your search ranking can be saved! Here are our tips for going mobile:

  • Understand the Needs of Your Mobile Customer

What are the objectives of customers visiting your mobile site? What information are they searching for on mobile? Sometimes (not always), what customers are looking for on mobile is different to what they would be looking for on desktop. You need to be aware of how your customers will be using mobile to give them the easiest way to navigate to the information they are searching for. For example, if you are a local service business, customers may simply want to find your location and submit an enquiry through a form or phone number. Alternatively, customers using an eCommerce store may want to navigate through mobile to buy online.

Understanding what it is your customers are using mobile for is the first step in providing a user-friendly mobile site.

  • Choose a Developer that optimises using Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

While no one except Google themselves fully knows the algorithm used to rank websites in search results, there are a number of best practice guidelines that every developer should know and use when building a website (desktop or mobile) to ensure the site is optimised for SEO. This includes things like site hierarchy, site map, image-to-text ratio, ALT attributes, broken links and HTML structure amongst many other design and content components. These might just be jargon to you, and that’s ok! Just make sure you work with a reputable Developer with a strong client list that you trust knows and understands how to optimise your website (desktop and mobile versions) for SEO.

  • Install & Use Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics is the easiest way to continuously track how your website is performing. You should be keeping an eye on high-level results such as website traffic, referral channels, unique visitors, bounce rate and the breakdown of mobile vs desktop users. For even deeper insights, look at tracking conversions (with dollar values against goals) to determine the most effective acquisition channels, popular pages, popular products and behaviour flow. These results can and should be used to improve your website and leverage your digital marketing efforts.

If you don’t have time to keep a close eye on your analytics and how your site is performing, it might be worth working with a digital marketing partner who can assist in reviewing your performance and provide recommendations to improve the website (mobile and desktop) and leverage your marketing.

If you haven’t yet considered the mobile-friendliness of your website, now is the time to do so. This algorithm will have significant impacts on the search ranking for those sites which are not mobile-friendly. If you would like assistance in assessing your site for mobile and determining the best way forward, contact us at Arcadian Digital today. Not only does our portfolio reflect our experience and expertise in providing website solutions, but we also offer digital marketing strategy support to keep your site performing in line with your business goals. Contact us today to find out more.

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