Google Now Penalizing Mobile Unfriendly Websites

Once again, Google has updated its algorithm to improve search engine results. That could lead to a dramatic change in your organic (that is, non-paid) search traffic, if you aren’t prepared.

Fortunately for you, we have all the details on the change and what it means for you. Starting April 21, 2015, Google began showing preference in search results to mobile-friendly websites. This is bad news for businesses who aren’t using a mobile-friendly design. On the other hand, if your website is already mobile-friendly, you might start seeing a boost in traffic.

Here’s a direct quote from Google’s announcement of the change: “…users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” These changes will be implemented internationally, across all languages.

People are accessing the Internet from mobile devices more than ever before. As of last year, for the first time, over 50 percent of all traffic to e-commerce sites was from a mobile device. It was only a matter of time before Google started favoring the mobile market. You can expect the other major search engines to follow Google’s lead in the near future.

How to Prepare

Making your website mobile-friendly isn’t as complicated as you might think. If you’re using a premium theme that was designed in the last couple of years, there’s a good chance that your website is already responsive (that is, mobile-friendly). If you want to learn more about responsive websites, read Google’s guide to mobile-friendly websites.

If you just want to find out if your website is responsive or not, enter your website into Google’s mobile-friendly test tool. This won’t take more than a minute or so, and you’ll know right away if your website is mobile-friendly or not.

If you already use Google’s webmaster tools (such as Google Analytics) you can generate a mobile usability report to locate specific problems with your website responding to mobile devices.

Going Forward

The use of mobile technology is expected to continue increasing, so the earlier you can adapt, the better off you will be. We expect Google to start showing more and more preference to mobile-friendly websites in its search engines going forward.

This development is especially important for e-commerce sites. Consumers want to shop directly from their phones and tablets. If you don’t have a mobile checkout in place, those potential customers will look elsewhere. Your business can’t afford to use a dated website design that doesn’t respond well to mobile devices.

Whether we like it or not, Google is the biggest source of traffic for most online businesses and that means we have to pay attention to its decisions. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any future changes Google makes, so you’ll always be one step ahead of the competition.