Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update May Not Affect You At All

First, an explanation of Google’s mobile-friendly update:

April 21st is a day that lived in infamy (or glory) for many websites, as Google updated its criteria and began ranking mobile-friendly websites better than non-mobile websites. Google warned that websites that were not mobile-friendly would see their rankings either drop (lose their spot to a competitor) or disappear entirely after April 21st. Many dubbed the update, Google’s Mobilegeddon.

Will this affect how my website ranks on a desktop computer? 
No. The change will only affect how your website ranks when the searcher is using a mobile device. That’s because Google uses different formulas for mobile rankings and desktop rankings. The change is only being made to the mobile ranking formula.

Why is Google doing this?
According to Google, the change is intended to improve the searcher’s experience (yours and mine). Specifically, Google says the change makes it easier for users to “get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

How do I know if my website is mobile-friendly?
Generally speaking, when viewed on a smartphone, a website that is not mobile-friendly either appears cut off or looks like a tiny, zoomed-out version of your desktop website that requires pinching-in/out to read the content.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to test whether your website is mobile-friendly.

What is an example of how this change might affect a business? 
Suppose your business name is ABC Company, you are a manufacturer of widget services, and you have a website that is not mobile-friendly. Now suppose that today if you Google ABC Company or widget services on a smartphone, you rank on the first page of Google results.

Starting April 21st, you will find that for searches done on a smartphone, your ranking for both of those terms will either move below page 1 or will disappear entirely from Google’s results.

The exception might be if your company name or your services are truly unique to you, i.e., you’re the only company in the world that offers widget services. Google has not publicly addressed that situation.

Why You Should Not Panic

It’s important to understand that this change will only affect mobile search. Therefore, you only have cause to panic if your website is already attracting valuable mobile traffic from Google searches.

How will you know if you’re in that boat?
This is a question that requires a look at your website’s analytics, and an honest conversation with yourself and your team.

Investigating the business impact of your current mobile visitors is the key.

Here’s how:

  1. Determine what aspects of your website touch your business. Do you use it to generate leads, publicize upcoming trade shows, announce new product launches, get information to the media, drive in potential employees, sell products, boost engagement on your social spaces, etc.?
  2. Identify the pages of your website that drive those business touches. These are your success paths. For example, if one of your business touches is completing a lead form, then a success path for that will be your lead form page itself, plus any page/set of pages that links to it.
  3. Determine whether or not your success paths are mobile-friendly. Read our three-step approach on how to test if your website is mobile friendly.
  4. If your success paths are not mobile-friendly, don’t panic. The key is understanding how many mobile users are currently flowing through your success paths and how many of those users landed on your site because of a Google search. If these numbers are relatively low compared to your overall website traffic, you can breathe easy for now. The changes on April 21st will have little immediate impact on your current business. But that’s no reason to put off building a mobile-friendly website. Mobile traffic is growing daily for every website in the world, including yours.

Whether you intend it or not, the number of people who attempt to visit your website using a smartphone will naturally go up every year. That’s due to the accelerating rate of adoption and usage of mobile devices worldwide—for both B2B and B2C organizations.

If you do not have a mobile-friendly website today, it’s going to be more difficult to attract and retain your audience in the coming months.

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/barkbud/4257136773/