Does your website have wheels?
Do you remember your first car? Mine was a 1983 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
It was, in my 16-year-old eyes, the coolest car in earth.
It got about 4 miles per gallon with supreme unleaded gas, the fabric roof was caving in, and most of the windows didn’t roll down.
But none of that mattered to me.
The Jeep was a huge step up from the Ford Crown Victoria that my older sister drove, but more importantly it had four wheels and it ran.
That meant freedom. I could go where I wanted; when I wanted.
Google knows your customers want the freedom to visit your website at anytime and on any device, just like a 16-year-old basking in the freedom of her first car.
Desktop computers are no longer the standard for internet usage. (You should read that sentence one more time!)
Your clients and prospective clients are most likely accessing your website from mobile devices around 60% of the time!
That’s why starting on April 21, 2015 Google is changing their search algorithm to favor sites with mobile-friendly (aka responsive) design. Here’s what Google announced in February:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
So what does this mean for you?
Google will start giving preference to websites that are formatted to look great on mobile devices.
SEO Blog, Search Engine Land has been calling this “mobilepocalyse, mobilegeddon, mobocalypse or mopocalypsecalling”, because no one can predict what this will do to search engine rankings!
Sites that have consistently ranked in the top 10 resutls in Google’s organic search could see a significant decline in page ranking if they aren’t mobile ready.
Here’s what you need to do
to get ready for the Mobile SEO-Pocalypse
1. Know what mobile-friendly or responsive website design looks like
In the olden days of the internet, like back in the 1990s, all websites were pretty much created equal because we were all using about the same size screen.
Today, we are all using screens of different shapes and sizes to visit websites.
Desktops, laptops, iphones, droids, ipads, Kindle Fires, Blackberries (wait, does anyone still use those?), and so many other devices.
A responsive website adapts your site’s content
to fit whatever devices or screen your visitor is using.
A responsive site is just as easy to navigate on an ipod touch as it is to navigate on a 26 inch monitor.
2.Understand why responsive design matters
User experience is one of the current buzzwords in website design, but it’s not just a passing fancy.
Internet users have so many options.
Any given google search can turn up hundreds of thousands of organic search results. That’s a lot of competition. If a user has a bad experience on your site, they probably have hundreds of other options.
Responsive design matters
because it improves user experience
If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve probably encountered a website that isn’t mobile-friendly. It looks something like this…
I am going to pick on Moz because it’s one of my favorite blogs. Also, they’ve made a conscious choice not to convert their site to a mobile design.
As you can see, on an iphone screen, their site is small and hard to read. I have to do a lot of scrolling and zooming to read or navigate the site.
Google is in the business of delivering great content in usable formats to searchers. The Google braintrust decided a responsive website provides the best experience for users, so Google is giving those sites a boost in ranking.
3. Find out if your website is mobile-friendly
Figuring out if your website is responsive isn’t hard. Google offers this handy tool mobile-friendly testing tool to test your site for mobile friendliness:
Another easy way is to open your website in an internet browser, then resize the browser window until it is roughly the size of your smartphone screen.
Did anything change? If it changes, your site is probably mobile-friendly. If it doesn’t then you’ve got a static site.
Check out this video. The first site is mobile-friendly and the second is static.
Most importantly, check your site on a mobile device. A responsive site or mobile site will fit in your phone’s screen without scrolling right or left. It will be attractive and easy to navigate.
A mobile site isn’t just a smaller version of your full site. A mobile friendly website’s menus and content are rearranged to make it easier to navigate the site.
4) Decide if it’s time to give your site a new set of wheels
April 21st is rapidly approaching, but you don’t have to fear SEO-Pocalypse.
It’s simply time to decide whether you need to convert your site to a mobile-friendly design.
Some sites, like Moz.com, have decided that the rewards of converting to a responsive design are not worth the time or money it would take to convert the site.
Other site owners have found their sites receive a below-average amount of traffic on mobile devices. Your Google Analytics report will tell you how many visitors view your site on mobile devices.
However, the vast majority of websites will benefit from mobile-friendly design.
Are you mobile ready?
Give us a call, we can help. (915) 585-1919 .
Photos courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons via dluders