NOTE: See the update below this article.
The above message appeared on the Google Webmaster official blog. The whole internet went CRAZY a few months back when Google merely hinted that a secure https connection could play some role in ranking. Now Google is flat out saying that this other new change will have a significant impact on search results. The internet is aobut to melt down…
So just what is this all about, what does it mean for you, and how do you fix it.
What is prompting this preference of Google towards Mobile, anyway?
First, let’s begin with some facts.
- Google is a business.
They’re a pretty cool business with a large emphasis on fun tech and making life pretty sweet for most of us, and while they may rule us all some day, they’ll probably be pretty cool overlords.
- Google makes 95%+ of their revenue from people clicking on ads in search (and on Youtube).
Yup, those little ads to the right of (and above) the organic search listings are essentially the modern form of the YellowPages, and businesses pay a lot to get in front of buyer traffic.
- Google’s customer is you, or me, or anyone who is searching.
I mean, in a sense, their customers are also the people who pay them to advertise, but primarily it’s the searchers, because they are the natural resource that drives google. Lose them, and the advertisers will leave.
- Google keeps it’s customers happy by returning the best results.
The reason I don’t use bing, even though they want you to think that their results are better, is that while Bing was the first to introduce some pretty features, the actual search quality has been better, traditionally, on Google. The Google Algorithm is just better at returning what I want/need than other search engines, and so “Google” has entered our language as a synonym for “search for, research, or look up an answer”.
- Google currently has the market share of search – but it’s slipping to some degree.
This is pretty big. Google has commanded as high as 94%+ of the market share for search, but recently, it’s fallen to around 70%, with the rise of Bing, Yahoo, and a few key partnerships among them.
- At the end of 2014 and into 2015, Mobile Search SURPASSED traditional desktop searches.
Mobile devices (Phones, Tablets, etc) are now ubiquitous. 60% of searches are done on a mobile device – and from 8am to 5pm as much as 80% of searches – especially with “local intent” (i.e., those looking for a local stop like a shop or restaurant) are done on a mobile device!)
- Not all websites play nicely with mobile devices.
Those pocket computers are as powerful as the space shuttle that landed on the moon, according to some. Yet for all their charms, they can’t render flash and their screens are tiny. Statistically, if a user can’t view your site on their device in about 6 seconds, they’ll bounce.
- If 60% of users bounced a lot when using Google to search, they may grow frustrated with using Google and leave them.
Of course the flip side of this is true, too. If only Google plays nicely with mobile devices, then 60% of the traffic that they’ve lost might just come back – and I think that’s their game plan.
What does this mean for you and your business’s website?
Well, if your website isn’t mobile ready, then it may disappear from at least 60 to 80% of the search traffic that’s out there. One study suggested, for instance, that around 70%+ of all American law websites are not mobile ready, despite prolific spends in online tech, blogs, etc., in that area. That means that the 30% who are may suddenly find themselves at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) with little competition, and that is HUGE – both as a looming threat to many, and a looming boon to the few who have adopted a mobile friendly platform early on.
How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?
The good news is it’s relatively easy to know if you’re website is about to get spanked. Google has an online tool that will judge your site in about 30 seconds, and make a few suggestions if your site doesn’t pass muster. If you do, then you’re fine. Find out where you rank in the search engines, and see if that changes around the 21st of April. If it doesn’t, you don’t need to panic, but you do need to act quickly to get your website transitioned to a mobile responsive site.
If you’re needing help, we’re here for you. We invite you to fill out our discovery form, and comment that you’re not mobile ready, and we can help you find the solution to painlessly transition.
1 Year in, and google has seen great value from this update. It has announced that it plans to continue rolling out these changes. For nation-wide brands and searches for information of that scale, you could still eek by without a mobile site. For local businesses, however, things are about to get rougher if you’re not mobile friendly.