At SMX Munich, a member of the Webmaster Trends team stated that Google is rolling out a mobile-friendly ranking algorithm on April 21st. While Google is already applying the mobile-friendly label to results, this update will have an even bigger impact.
Since Google actually rolls out multiple algorithm changes throughout the course of every year, it’s important to put the size of these changes into perspective. Although some changes are fairly minor in terms of the impact they have, that’s not going to be the case with this update.
How Big is Google’s Mobile Update Going to Be?
This mobile update is expected to have a larger impact than Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. As you may remember from personal experience, both of those updates noticeably shook up the SEO world. The Panda and Penguin updates also caused numerous problems for businesses across a wide range of industries.
While it’s normal to feel a little anxiety about a pending update that’s slated to have an even bigger impact, there’s an important clarification worth making. One reason that businesses from Omaha and the rest of the US struggled with the previous updates is because the changes were somewhat ambiguous in nature.
Although experts like Big Red SEO were able to help businesses by identifying the main traits of these updates, businesses that attempted to help themselves were often left feeling very confused about where to even start.
What Does Google Want to Accomplish With Their Mobile Update?
In the case of this upcoming Google update, the good news is it has a clear focus. Because Google knows from all the data they collect that a huge number of people search via their mobile devices on a regular basis, the company wants to ensure that the mobile experience they provide is just as good as the desktop one that has made them the world’s leading search engine.
In order to accomplish that goal, Google wants to reward websites that they can count on to look good and be easy to use on smaller mobile screens. By prominently ranking those types of websites, Google knows they can create a positive user experience.
Since there are definitely sites which currently rank well but aren’t mobile-friendly, these sites are likely to lose a noticeable amount of traffic. On the other hand, the mobile-friendly sites that take their place will actually increase their targeted traffic. Because you obviously want your Omaha business to be in the latter group, we’re going to take a look at what you need to do prior to this update going live.
Responsive Design is the Best Way to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
Google has a history of taking manual actions against websites. For example, if a popular site is publicly accused of spamming, Google may investigate and then assess a manual penalty if they determine the accusations are true. However, just because Google can assess manual penalties doesn’t mean that’s how they like to operate.
Given the size and scale of Google, it’s easy to understand why they prefer to handle things in an automated manner whenever possible. And by updating an algorithm or applying a new algorithm to their search results, that’s exactly what they’re able to do.
Even though it’s no secret that Google’s algorithms are very complex, the easiest way to think about this subject is as a type of pattern. When Google is able to identify a pattern that’s present across many websites, they can use that as the foundation for their desired algorithm and subsequent update.
In the case of mobile-friendly, responsive design is the easiest trait for websites across virtually any subject to share. Not only does responsive design provide a very practical way for web designs to adapt to smaller screens like mobile devices, but Google has officially recommended this type of design in the past.
Since it’s easy to understand how Google can use this specific trait as a key factor in their mobile-friendly equation, you need to ensure your Omaha business website features a responsive design. If it doesn’t, transitioning to this type of design should be your top priority between now and April 21st.
What Else Should You Do to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly?
While giving your website a responsive design is the best thing you can do to make your website comply with Google’s mobile-friendly vision and ensure that mobile visitors have a great experience when they use their website, there are a few more things you can do to properly optimize your site for mobile.
One action you can take is reviewing your mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools and addressing any issues that are flagged in the report. Another way to go about optimizing for mobile visitors is to spend some time looking at your mobile data in Google Analytics.
By going through this data and really digging into what you find, there’s a good chance that you will identify behavior patterns like increased bounce rate on specific pages. When you see these types of patterns, it’s often a sign that a certain page needs to be optimized.
Finally, don’t be afraid to take a look at your competitors. Whether that means checking out their design on your mobile device or tracking changes in rankings, the really useful thing about looking at competitors is it can serve as a source of both inspiration and motivation.
We Can Help With Your Mobile Design Needs: (402) 522-6468
Whether you need a responsive design for your website or are interested in having other mobile aspects of your Omaha business website evaluated, Big Red SEO is here to help. As design and SEO experts, our team has the knowledge and resources needed to take your Omaha business website to the next level. So, if you not only want to ensure that this update doesn’t tank your rankings, but also position all your online efforts for future growth, you can discuss these topics in detail with us by calling (402) 522-6468.