For the first time in the history of the internet, computers aren’t the leading technology for web browsing: mobile devices have taken the #1 spot. This isn’t a shock—when was the last time you logged onto a PC or Mac to do a search? Based on projections, this will be the norm for the future. This doesn’t come as a surprise, considering how powerful smartphones are, but it is changing the way that we do business online.
Company owners know that search engine optimization (SEO) is today’s big thing. Since potential customers get most of their information from web searches, you must be relevant. It turns out that the increasing mobile phenomenon has led to changes in Google’s ranking algorithms.
The Arrival of “Mobilegeddon”
To understand Google’s rating changes, you must be familiar with the definition of a mobile-friendly website. To be compatible with smartphones, your page must automatically reformat whenever it’s accessed from a handheld device.
Google uses the following criteria to evaluate your site’s compatibility:
- The site avoids software (such as Flash), which cannot be used on mobile devices.
- Text is clear and readable without zooming.
- The content adjusts so viewers do not have to zoom in or out or scroll horizontally.
- Links are placed with enough distance between them that the intended one can be tapped.
How the Change Affects You
Since March of this year, Google began planning changes to boost the effect of the mobile-friendly ranking signal, which was first implemented in April of 2015. In simple terms, the more compatible your website is with a mobile display, the more favorable a review you’ll receive from Google.
This change works both ways, however. Businesses that don’t clean up and prepare their sites for the mobile experience will likely experience (sometimes significant) drops in their rankings. As time goes along, failure to update will continue to drag the site down in number.
What Do Google’s September Adjustments Mean?
Google recently rolled out some tweaks that have affected SEO. Though there has been a discussion about what’s going on, we can rule out any changes to the Penguin algorithm—which the search engine launched to deter spam-y links and other practices that equate to low-quality results. Though we are still waiting to uncover the how-s, what-s, and why-s of some looming SEO changes, we can expect the company to continue observing user trends and making adjustments accordingly. If searches continue to be conducted on mobile devices, Google will naturally continue to filter results that are more appealing to the majority of its users.
What You Can Do
If your website isn’t already mobile-friendly, make it so. Design experts can help you strategically place content so that it’s effective for mobile and desktop users. Even if your page has a mobile version, it’s worth the extra effort to ensure it functions as well as possible. Plus, consumers enjoy fresh and concise content—so it benefits you across the board.
Finally, focus on other SEO techniques (such as hyperlinking) to push your business closer to the top of the search results list.
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