Earlier this year—April 21st to be exact—Google released new mobile-friendly algorithms that are affecting the rankings of your website right now. For the companies that already had a responsive website in place, this is old news. But, others who haven’t converted to a mobile-friendly site are left wondering why their site continues falling in search result listings.
In a nutshell, Google wanted to give mobile-friendly websites a boost by altering their search crawlers to give higher rankings to responsive sites. A responsive website will render appropriately regardless of the device you’re using to connect to a site. If you are accessing a responsive site on your smartphone, you won’t have to scroll to the right and left to view the site. Instead, the site will automatically be formatted to fit your screen. So, website responsiveness essentially creates a more user-friendly experience. And considering the high percentage of searches that are done using mobile devices, it’s no wonder Google adapted these new guidelines to favor sites that display correctly for mobile users.
But, there are a few more things you need to know to ensure your site is ranked as high as possible.
• Know where you stand: If you’re not sure if your website is responsive, the first step is to find out. Thankfully, Google has made this easy by creating a Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. Just copy and paste your homepage link in the text box and Google will analyze all the pages across your entire site for responsiveness. It will even tell you which pages are considered mobile-friendly and which are not. This will give you a starting point in case you need to make some changes.
• Draw in mobile traffic: According to comScore, mobile search queries (smartphones and tablets) account for roughly 29% of total search volume. Additionally, 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, according to Engine Watch. And finally, Google has reported that 18% of local searches lead to sales, compared to 7% for non-local searches. All this data points to the fact that if your website isn’t responsive, it’s likely not going to show up for mobile users, and you could lose out on a lot of new business. By converting your site to a responsive design, you’re more likely to show up near the top of search results every time a prospect Googles “Local IT Services” or “Printing Solutions for Small Businesses.”
• Check your metrics: The quickest way to determine if the Google update affected your website, is to check your site’s statistics to see if your traffic dropped during the week of April 21, 2015. Another helpful metric to become familiar with is your site’s actual number of mobile users. You can easily access this data in Google Analytics by navigating to Mobile, then Overview, where you’ll see a percentage breakdown of users coming from desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.
• Optimize your AdWords: In addition to downgrading search results for unresponsive sites, Google also factors site responsiveness into the rankings for AdWords campaigns. On every search result page, ads appear on the right side in a pecking order relative to how much the advertiser bid for the top position, and the appropriateness of site content (including responsiveness). So, on mobile searches only the responsive sites will go to the top of the ad list, and unresponsive sites end up paying more to achieve similar ad visibility on all searches.
Overall, Google has made these changes to provide a better mobile experience for searchers. But as a solution provider, you need to ensure your clients and prospects can find and access your website at any time from any device. In addition to losing out on potential new business, ignoring the mobile-friendly trends could also drop your SEO drops and raise your rates for pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements when using Google AdWords.
To learn more about responsive website design, contact Evolved Office today.