Google is the world’s biggest search engine. It’s the site most people turn to when they need to find a restaurant, directions, or what products to purchase. They are constantly working and updating how they rank websites, not to create chaos, but to generate relevant results for consumers. However, on April 21st, they will launch a massive update, which will significantly change the way your business is found on the search engine.
Recently, Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji announced that they are changing how websites are ranked, rewarding websites that are mobile optimized. With over 50% of all of their searches happening on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), their focus is to make all sites small screen friendly. To spur websites into compliance Google will be rewarding the sites that are mobile ready, and penalizing the sites that aren’t.
As shocking as this may sound, the truth is, if your site is in good standing you may have a competitive edge over other businesses.
How do you know if your site is going to receive bonus points? Google has made it easy for businesses and has created a test site to see if you are mobile ready. If your website is mobile ready you’ll see this message:
If your site isn’t up to date with its mobile optimization you’ll see this:
If you find out your website isn’t compatible with Google’s new rules, don’t panic. This isn’t an impossible problem to solve. There are steps you can take to make your website compliant. However, just don’t ignore the problem. The longer it takes you to develop a solution, the more you will be penalized. Once you have upgraded your site, you will stop being penalized and be rewarded by Google.
There are a few ways to make your website mobile ready. You can create a mobile site, which contains the same information as your site, but built to be viewed on a mobile device with a mobile URL. This is acceptable but not optimal, because Google will have to work twice as hard to index your site.
The best way to prepare your site for this update is to make sure you have a responsive design website. Responsive websites are built to adapt with every device on every platform. Because there is only one URL to be indexed, your pages are more streamlined and search engine friendly.
These steps aren’t made to punish you or make you feel that your website is lacking. If anything they are to help you create a stronger brand that can be found more easily. The goal is to create the strongest web presence possible, by creating the best experience for the user - your customer.
There are going to be other businesses out there who will ignore this. You shouldn’t be one of them. Having a website for your business isn’t enough anymore. You need to grow and adapt your business as technology and resources grow and adapt. Ensure your website is ready to meet the demands of all users on all devices and take advantage of the incentive Google is offering.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.