How businesses are impacted by Google’s new mobile ranking algorithm

Cheap, quickly built and old websites are about to be punished by Google.

The way we interact with websites is changing. In recent years, with the explosion of smartphone usage, most savvy businesses have redesigned their websites to be mobile responsive (RWD) or mobile friendly.

Have you noticed that as you use your smartphone and tablet more there are websites you can’t read or view properly? You’re constantly pinching on your touch screen so that you are able to read the text or click on a tiny button to find the information you need.

You’re not alone. There are thousands of businesses that haven’t upgraded their websites and still have a basic desktop, non-mobile, non-tablet friendly website making for a bad user experience with the business or brand.

Google: “If your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search. But have no fear, once your site becomes mobile-friendly, we will automatically re-process your pages.”

Google have been warning for months of proposed changes to its mobile search rankings and have changed the way it ranks websites on your mobile device as of the 21st April, last week. Google is believed to be making these changes due to competition from mobile apps (where you don’t have to do a Google search and Google doesn’t make ad revenue). Google is changing the way users search for you or your business online. It is yet to affect all businesses in Australia. Over the next 6 months a particular business you may search for on your mobile will not appear at the top of the Google ranked list. Unless they redesign their website to RWD or other complex solutions to solve this.

 What is a mobile responsive website?

A mobile responsive website known as a mobile friendly website or Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web design to provide the best optimal viewing and user experience websites when a user is on a mobile or tablet. A responsive site is easy to read, easy to click on links and buttons, and easy to navigate or scroll on a website.

Why is it important to have a Responsive Web Design (RWD) website in 2015?

  • According to local research up to 66% of Australian businesses are not optimised for mobile users.
  • Exploding mobile usage – 80% or more people use smartphones for Internet searches. There are more than 5 billion global mobile subscribers.
  • According to Google’s Think Insights on Mobile, if a user lands on your mobile website and is frustrated or doesn’t see what they are looking for, there’s a 61% chance they will leave immediately and go to another website (most likely a competitor). It’s also said that if they have a positive experience with your mobile website a user is 67% more likely to buy a product or use a service.
  • At this time it only affects search rankings on mobile devices.

“The change is designed to help users find search results formatted for their device”  Google has said.

Top 5 Questions

Question: How  many businesses rely on Google search results?

Answer: Logically, you would conclude almost all that have a website.

Question: How can I or small/medium and big business diagnose if my website is mobile friendly or not?

Answer: Google has created a mobile friendly web test simply enter your URL web address to find out

Question: Is my business mobile friendly (RWD) and will it rank in Google Search results? Will Google Rankings impact my business on a mobile device?

Answer: If the site is not mobile friendly the answer is yes and it doesn’t only affect you when a customer searches for a business name. It also affects keywords attributing to your business.

Question: If a customer searches for “plumbers near me” will my business website appear in Google search on a mobile device?

Answer: No, with the algorithmic changes Google has implemented, unless you have redesigned your website to RWD it is unlikely to appear in the top searched for list of plumbers near that customer.

Question: What if a competitor has a RWD website?

Answer: A competitor that has a RWD website will be ranked higher than a business that does not have a RWD website.

Who is impacted?

A simple search of the top 200 ASX listed companies followed by inputting their web address into the Google ‘mobile friendly’ tester will reveal just how many Australian businesses are not mobile friendly. There are many. Here are some I found in 5 mins. The issues range from: Text is too small to read, links are too close together, and the content can be wider than the mobile screen.

Big Businesses impacted are:

Sydney Airport (my airport)

IOOF (Super company)

The Daily Mail (UK publisher)

TPG – Telco provider

Toll Group (the company that delivers packages on the go)

And thousands of small businesses will be affected.

What do business and I need to do?

Contact a Digital Strategist like myself who work in and with digital agencies that make best practice quality websites or your digital agency that produced your website and a RWD website can be designed to maximise your business offering and prevent you from missing out on vital business.

Although if your digital agency produced your website in the last 3 years and didn’t make it responsive – I’d be asking why.

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