Beginning today, April 21, Google is rewarding websites optimized for mobile viewing by not only labeling them as mobile-friendly, but also using that to determine if those sites should rank higher in mobile search results. This change is the latest in a series of steps that Google has taken to better optimize viewing on mobile devices. According to Google, this algorithmic change “will have significant impact on search results and ranking.”
Essentially, only those sites that are considered mobile-friendly will be displayed in search results for people on mobiles. This is not technically a penalty from Google, although it is certainly a huge disadvantage to those who are not optimized for mobile viewing.
This update will be the biggest to Google’s algorithm since both Panda and Penguin, and there is some speculation that it will be the biggest in a decade – what is being referred to as #Mobilegeddon.
Google is making these changes primarily to provide a better mobile experience for searchers, and give people exactly what they want. As mobile internet access grows, the formula used to determine page rank must adapt to accommodate these usage patterns. According to a recent study, as reported by Techcrunch.com, mobile device access has tipped the scales over desktop usage: more than 60 percent of digital consumption is through a smart phone, tablet, etc. While this is great for the consumer, businesses need to immediately assess their website’s standing and if it’s not mobile responsive, they’ve got some work to do in a hurry!
If a site is not using Responsive Design, a method that adapts website content to screen/size requirements for a mobile device, it can expect its SEO effectiveness to be at risk. Mobile can no longer be viewed as an extra effort when planning for and strategically thinking about web presence. Those that embrace this shift will not only survive, but ultimately thrive.