Google’s Big Change – Has Your Website Been Hit?
On Tuesday April 21st Google unleashed what could be a massive disruption for a large portion of the world wide web. The good news is everyone knew that it was coming and most website owners have made the needed adjustments. Has your site been penalized?
Its important to understand that Search Engine Optimization plays a huge part in your online presence. Mobile Search differs from desktop search. In addition, you cant simply Google the keywords you are interested in—as Google “customizes” each search result for the user. Bricks and Mortar businesses rely heavily on mobile search and “citations” which are ultimately reviews and mentions. We have all asked our phone where to find a local dry cleaner or what is close for lunch right?
Enough! What is the Change?
The change now seriously demotes your website if you are not mobile friendly. With the massive amount of internet traffic taking place on mobile devices, Google has now proclaimed if your site doesn’t display properly on mobile devices, you will get a serious ding in your search results.
Google made the announcement last fall that this was coming, so everyone could make the needed adjustments. For many, that meant a total redesign of their website. Some have chosen to create a “M dot” site which displays an abbreviated version of their website on a sub-domain if you are on mobile. Some people estimate that over half of all internet traffic is now on mobile devices and Google feels that if your site doesn’t react well to over half of the world, you don’t deserve to rank well. I cant really blame them on that.
Its Not Really a Bad Thing
We have seeing search engine rankings slowly decrease on sites that are not mobile friendly for years, but for more organic reasons. For instance, Google looks at how relevant your site is to a particular search query by analyzing bounce rate, time on site, pages per session and so forth. Those “quality metrics” for sites not mobile friendly have decreased. They have decreased naturally because when people visit those sites on mobile devices, they leave sooner. When Google sees the decrease in those “quality metrics” they don’t give you as much credibility for that search query.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the changes are limited to mobile search”, said Jaffe Digital Strategist Melanie Trudeau. “However, the effect on small and mid-sized sites still could be profound”. According to Trudeau, websites that aren’t mobile ready can expect zero traffic from smartphones and tablets.
What Can You Do?
The first thing you need to do is check your site for what Google calls “mobile friendly”. DEAN Knows offers a full, FREE SEO Website Audit that includes checking to see if your site is mobile friendly. Google themselves has set up a page that will test your site and let you know if it passes muster. If you already know that your site is not mobile friendly, or you fail the test, you need to correct that quick fast and in a hurry! I personally recommend a two step approach. Step one is to quickly generate an “M dot” version of your site on a sub-domain. This can be done relatively easily and with relatively low cost. This will keep you from disappearing all together but I really don’t recommend that for long term. Step two is to redesign the site to be responsive. That means that your site will adjust to different screen sizes. It will reformat itself to layout correctly. A good responsive site will have multiple layouts — for desktop, tablet viewing and for smaller phones. This takes time to design but is what you will ultimately want. If you pay someone to currently maintain your site, truthfully the FIRST thing you should do is FIRE that person for letting this happen!
Here is your Google Tester Page
If you have found yourself without a mobile friendly website, we can help. We can quickly get you with a mobile site to hopefully avoid the ding and do the redesign as a fully responsive website. DEAN Knows offers full range of Website Design options, all of which includes basic on-site SEO and a fully responsive site.