Google Changes The Rules – Mobile-Friendly or Not

If Google does as stated, today is the day many small business websites disappear from Google Mobile Search Results. Of course, not only SMBs will suffer, but so will churches, associations, and other non-profits. A few major corporations will be surprised as well.

mobile-friendly-webwisteWe understand the importance of mobile in today’s world. Nearly all the new websites we create are device-responsive, and have a mobile-friendly version, as defined by Google, as well as a desktop version.

The vast majority of the websites we have created in the last few years look great and work well on desktops and tablets, as well as phones with “full-browser” capabilities. With smaller devices, the user will have to pinch and stretch some, but they will function. We did create fully mobile-friendly versions for some of our clients websites who chose to be out front in the mobile revolution. Even a year ago a mobile-friendly of a website was a hard sell for us and most other developers, especially those of us who have small businesses and non-profits among our clients.

Google seems to think everyone has deep pockets and/or a development team to create exactly the type of website they deem appropriate. They constantly tweak Google Analytics and Google AdWords. Sometimes the tweaks are amazing and time saving. Sometimes they are amazing and very time consuming.

Google wrote this Finding more mobile-friendly search results post on February 26, 2015, and followed with this announcement Rolling out the mobile-friendly update today.

Here is an excerpt from that post.

“April 21 st’s mobile-friendly update boosts mobile search rankings for pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices.

  • Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
  • Applies to individual pages, not entire websites

While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”

You may check using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if Google classifies your website as mobile-friendly.

It is too soon to know the impact of Google’s latest forced mandate. Every website owner should review their analytics program to see what percentage of traffic is mobile. Remember Google separates tablets traffic from mobile, as most tablets display the desktop version of a website. Once you determine the percentage and number of mobile visitors (and what they do while on your site), you will have to decide if having fully mobile-friendly (as defined by Google) is right for your customers and prospects. Only you know what percentage of mobile traffic meets your pain threshold. Please remember that for this purpose, the mobile statistics, are only valid going backwards in time. Mobile search results change dramatically as of today!

If you have any questions, please contact us.