As mobile web browsing takes the internet by storm, websites have been feeling the pressure to get on board. Google has just announced that businesses who want to stay relevant in this market must go mobile or be left behind. On April 21, the all-powerful algorithm that determines Google’s search result rankings will be updated to favor websites that are mobile-friendly.
Although these changes will only affect the ranking results on mobile browsers, the impact of this update should not be underestimated. Web traffic is steadily leaning more and more toward cell phones and tablets, rather than computers, with numbers putting mobile visitors at over 50% of a website’s viewers.
Brace for Mobile Impact
Consumers are using their phones and tablets to discover, research, and purchase more and more goods and services. Even other businesses are turning to mobile for B2B searching, a market which can heavily influence some industries.
The extent of this update is still unknown, but according to Google’s announcement, it will carry “significant changes” for search results. Companies who do not take care to ensure that their websites are ready for mobile browsing may suddenly find themselves dropping in search results, and therefore losing business to competitors who are willing to keep up with the times.
Mobile Isn’t Going Away
The number of mobile visitors is growing at an alarming rate, with no signs of slowing. Aside from the potential ranking adjustments on April 21, businesses will only continue to miss out on more and more potential income the longer that they hold out on going mobile.
For websites that have yet to embrace mobile browsing, there are two options available to that end. A responsive web design allows a website to resize itself to fit any browsing window, whether that’s an iPhone 6 or the Google Nexus 7. Developing this option may be a little more involved to implement, but it prevents any updates needed later as other screen sizes are developed. The second option includes creating a unique version of the website to display on mobile devices, but every screen size would rely on a different version of the website. This method saves a little investment in the short-term, but in the long run it may actually require more time and cost.
If you’re not sure whether your company’s website is ready for the move to mobile or not, Google provides a handy tool to review everything. It can pinpoint problematic items on your website that could deprive you of a “mobile friendly” label, such as:
- Text that is too small to read
- Links that are too close together and cannot be tapped easily
- Problematic software for mobile, such as Flash
- Website that loads slowly, which can lead to a drop in rankings and a red “Slow” tag
Go Mobile or Go Extinct
These issues and more still exist on many websites throughout different industries, preventing businesses from growing in the mobile market.
While this re-arrangement of results could spell sudden ranking disasters for companies who aren’t prepared, those who are ready to provide a great experience for their increasing number of mobile visitors may find themselves with an opportunity to rise above their competition. Prudent businesses would do well to review their website and avoid getting left behind as Google leads online commerce into the future.