Google is constantly updating their algorithm to improve the user experience and help worthy businesses make it to the top, and this year is no different. Starting April 21st, mobile-friendly websites will be a contributing factor to overall page rankings, and this move is affecting businesses worldwide.
Google is seeking to make the best possible experience for their users, both on desktop and mobile devices, and if your business can't make the cut, your rankings and therefore conversions will plummet. For ecommerce businesses in 2015, it will pay to know exactly what this announcement means and how it will affect your business.
What It Means for SEO
This announcement may seem like nothing new at first glance. The push for mobile optimization of websites has been coming on for years. However, consider the fact that 50 percent of all local searches are performed on mobile devices, and only about 50 percent of all websites are optimized for mobile use.
According to research, unfriendly mobile websites come with a bounce rate anywhere between 65 and 90 percent, which significantly hurts rankings. This puts the pressure on SEO marketers to focus more on website design and mobile-friendly ads and PPC campaigns. SEO strategies will begin to focus more on mobile conversions than ever before.
What It Means for Businesses
As you probably know, the key to gaining profit as an ecommerce business is making sales. The key to making sales in ecommerce is a website that's both visible and usable to your consumers, and for that, your site needs to be Google algorithm-friendly.
Business strategies will be changing across the globe to market towards more mobile-friendly advertisements and transaction processes, especially the latter since users won't want to leave their mobile device just to make a transaction. The penalty for failing to meet these standards is a significant drop in both rankings and profits.
In order to prepare businesses for this new update, Google offers several tools that will analyze a business's current website and determine if it meets the mobile-friendly criteria, and if not, which areas need more attention. These tools include the Mobile-Friendly Test and Google's Developer Page Speed Insights Tool.
To run both of these tests, simply copy and paste your URL into the provided bar, and wait for your results. The lucky who prepared ahead of time for this shift will receive a positive notification that they passed the mobile-friendly test and the speed of their website needs little improvement.
Those who haven't made the seamless transition to mobile websites will likely receive a whole list of changes to be addressed. A list of and solutions to the most common errors to be encountered in these tests can be found in Google's Mobile SEO Guide.
Making the Transition
The transition will be simple for many, but painstaking for others. In order to make the transition a little easier, follow the steps in this short guide.
- Run tests to determine your mobile-friendly standing. Prepare to pay the cost for the necessary changes these tests determine.
- Choose your mobile strategy. This will generally consist of several options including creating an app, building a separate site for mobile users, or using Google's recommendation of responsive web design that makes your original pages adaptable for all devices.
- Integrate best practices for mobile optimization. This includes avoiding software that's uncommon for standard mobile devices, using concise, large-font text, reformatting pages to fit small screens, and making links easily accessible.
Though this change may not be the easiest for every company to handle, look at it positively. It's an innovative move towards the future of online business that will only prepare businesses for the newest and greatest technologies to come.