For those of you who don’t regularly check up on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, you may have missed the announcement of major update last week. Beginning April 21st, Google’s algorithm will officially be “expanding [its] use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” In other words, expect a hit in ranking if your website isn’t responsive. We can assure you that properly implemented SEO alone will not save your website in search results. The announcement comes with a warning that the change is expected to impact a significant number of search results.
In addition to penalizing non-responsive websites, the announcement comes with a second piece of news. Content from Apps will now be ranked more favorably in search results. If you are currently implementing App indexing, you could start to see a spike in traffic as early as today.
While this is a major news update, this announcement has been a long time coming. Mobile traffic now accounts for over 30% of overall traffic. As the presence of tablets and smartphones grows more every year, this percentage is only expected to increase over time. Despite the many indicators that an update such as this was on the horizon, rarely does an announcement from Google come with such specific details. Like the Mayan apocalypse, some will fear for the lives of their online presence as April 21st approaches, while others will rest easy knowing that their responsive design is intact. Unlike the uncertain outcome of December 21st, 2012, however, we can assure you that this change is a guarantee.
For those who are unclear on exactly what responsive web design is, this does not mean having a mobile subdomain for your website (m.yoursite.com). A responsive web design is a single website that flows seamlessly across all devices. Mobile, tablet, desktop, you name it. Screens and windows of all sizes dictate how the website looks to a user. Having a single responsive website as opposed to a separate mobile site saves you money, and creates a more cohesive online experience for your visitors. Your website tells the story of your brand, and you want it to be the same story across all devices.
Will My Website Be Penalized?
If you’re unsure about how your site will fare in the eyes of google’s new algorithm, there are a few different ways to check your website’s mobile compatibility. Run a search for your website on your phone and keep an eye out for the “mobile-friendly” tag.
What Should I Do?
Google also provides a free mobile friendly test to check your compatibility. Plug your URL into the grader and cross your fingers. The test will give you a pass-fail grade, and a few suggestions to implement before April 21st. For some specific update instructions to the advanced webmaster, you can also run a mobile usability report through your Google Webmaster Tools.
Time is of the essence. If this information has you scrambling to make quick changes to your website, Snap Agency does have some good news for you. We specialize in digital marketing, and beautiful responsive web design is a major component of our portfolio. Click the button below to get started.
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