MOBILE-FRIENDLY SITES GET SEO RANKING PREFERENCE


Marketing & Business
piece written on the 19th November 2014 by  

Yesterday Google announced a very interesting change to their search results for people who are searching on mobile devices. As we all know, mobile traffic is increasing at an incredible rate and I don’t foresee this slowing down any time soon. Because of this Google needs to change and adapt to ensure that their business model is kept in tact – to present users with the best possible websites based on their search query.

It isn’t fresh news that Google is concerned about mobile, but this was compounded yesterday when they announced that mobile-friendly websites would get preference in the search results with the inclusion of “Mobile-Friendly” being added to the search result sites provided they are mobile friendly. I took my phone, launched Google and search for “hotel new york” and as you can see, Google has already started rolling this out:

mobile-friendly-search-results

From a user experience point of view this makes complete sense. I, myself, get rather frustrated when I’m searching on my mobile phone and end up at a website that is far too small of requires a great deal of scrolling to read the information. So I’d enjoy seeing the “Mobile-friendly” tag and knowing that the website I am clicking through to will render correctly on my device. On the flip side, it’s not the best thing for website owners because it’s in their best interest to ensure that their website is mobile friendly, but achieving this could come at a fairly large expense.

One thing that Google has done is create a mobile-friendly testing tool that allows you to type in your website address and in return it provides you with a short report telling you whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, and if not, why not. This update is being rolled out globally over the next few weeks so we haven’t been given too much time to sort this out unfortunately.

Do I think it’s essential to make changes because of this?

Difficult question and I think the answer lies dependent with the industry you operate in. I’d go as far as saying that verticals operating around the accommodation industry should definitely jump onto this. I’d also recommend looking in your Google Analytics account to see what sort of mobile traffic you get to your website versus the desktop traffic. If your mobile traffic is high then it’s a logical process to understand that it would be a worthwhile change. I can see that on my site, 70% of the traffic is from desktop computers and 30% is from mobile and tablet. Although it’s heavily weighted to desktop computers, 30% is still a really big chunk. The end decision will come from weighing up the cost of upgrading your website to be mobile-friendly against the number of visitors you are receiving. Even better, weighing up the cost of the upgrade against the number of mobile users who are translating into customers – that’s how I would personally do this.

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