Mobilegeddon is Here…Fix Your Websites Now!

Why is Google king of search engines?  They provide search results that are relevant to searchers.  They do this by constantly tweaking their algorithm to ensure relevant results.

Over the last 5-10 years searches from mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) have grown dramatically and now comprise roughly 50% of searches.  40-45% of the average website’s page views are done on mobile devices.  But not all websites are designed to be “mobile-friendly.”  What is mobile-friendly?  Namely websites that have easy navigation and button clicking for mobile devices (can be used with one finger without clicking on the wrong item), fit on a mobile device’s screen without having to zoom or scroll left-right, and will not have to load Flash (which typically won’t load on certain devices).

To keep searches relevant for mobile searchers, on April 21, 2015 Google implemented a new algorithm (colloquially dubbed “Mobilegeddon”) that will de-emphasize webpages that are not mobile-friendly when the search is made from a mobile device.  This does not impact searches from non-mobile devices.  Why is this so important?  Google controls over 90% of the mobile search market (thanks to Google producing the Android operating system and a deal with Apple to be their default search provider).  This de-emphasis does not mean a webpage will be stricken from the search results, but will likely appear lower.  Google does not publicize their algorithm details so that webmasters cannot manipulate their results.  The distant #2 player in the search field, Microsoft’s Bing (which also powers Yahoo!), has announced it will slowly roll out a similar algorithm for mobile-friendly searches.

Websites use two primary techniques for being mobile-friendly.  One is by using responsive templates.  Responsive templates resize and re-order the page to fit on the display device.  The other is by displaying a different looking page to mobile devices.

How do you know how Google views your website?  They have a mobile-friendly testing tool you can use.  Bing is developing a similar tool to be published this summer.

What can you do if your site fails Google’s test?  If you have a website operating off a CMS (content management system) such as WordPress or Drupal, update your theme to a responsive one.  For WordPress, if you have little budget or time, you could add one of the plugins that change the site for mobile devices.

If you need help with converting your website to be mobile-friendly, please contact us.  Through Labor Day 2015, I am running a special to install a mobile-friendly plugin on a WordPress site for $50.00.

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