Last week I wrote about Google’s impending change to it’s search algorithm. It’s a change which is going to start ranking higher websites that are mobile and tablet friendly, whilst at the same time lowering those that are not. Why is this a big deal? Well, when you consider that six out of ten searches on Google are from a mobile device, the amount of traffic those searches generates is massive. It’s not just going to affect websites in our industry, but every single website on the planet. And this is a big deal.
This change has been dubbed all sorts by the media. “Mobocalypse” and “mobilegeddon” being two of the more popular terms. But from today, if you’re searching on a tablet or mobile, Google only wants to show you websites designed to look good on those devices.
So what constitutes a non-mobile-ready website? Well, for starters a website that doesn’t automatically re-size depending on the type of device you’re viewing it on. So, if you pull up a web page on your phone or tablet and the page doesn’t re-size, the text doesn’t get bigger, the images don’t increase/decrease etc, then it’s not mobile-friendly. In the reverse of that, any webpage that does automatically re-size, the text gets bigger to appear better on the page, the images do the same, links aren’t too close together etc, then great news, your website is mobile ready and you won’t be penalised!
How much damage will this cause?
In all honesty, until the changes take affect, we won’t know how badly these changes will hit the non-mobile-friendly sites out there. I suspect though that given the majority of search through Google is now done on mobile devices, the effects could be quite severe. At the end of the day, Google is making these changes for a reason. The way people consume data, search online, view content etc is now predominantly done on smartphones and tablets. That trend is quickly increasing too. So what need is there going to be for non-mobile-friendly in the coming years? Well, not that much to be honest.
We all lie in bed, sit on the train, at our desks, even on the loo, and all stare into screens mobile or tablet size. We don’t want to be squinting at screens where the text is too small and the images are grainy. And if we’re looking to grab the attention of our customers, the ones who use tablets and smartphones, we really need to be updating our sites to work with 2015 standards of search and display.
Don’t believe these changes will hurt? Consider those 60% of people who use their smartphones and tablets to search. It’s feasible that 60% of your current traffic might just drop away. If you’re not up to date, I suggest you do so quickly.