On April 21st Google will implement a Search Engine Marketing Algorithm change that will lead to repercussions throughout the Search Engine Marketing Industry.
We all know that mobile is accounting for larger and larger percentages of local search. We all also know that most websites are not optimized for loading or viewing on mobile devices. This has to change and if you use Search Engine Marketing, Google will force you to change.
It appears that Google’s goal is that any page on your website is accessible and fully functional for all users on all devices. So what happens if they aren’t?
The primary impact will be felt in your organic search results. Here’s the process:
Google’s bots will evaluate your site and send you a message via their webmaster tools if you have set up and linked an account to your website. The message will identify the problems that were found and suggest ways to fix them.
Next you will be tagged as not mobile friendly in search engine results pages triggered by searchers.
Finally, you will lose your rankings. So if you previously appeared in the 1st or 2nd page of search results you could be heavily penalized.
So what do you do?
Google recommends that you use Responsive Web Design (RWD). RWD means that the page uses the same URL and the same code regardless of the device used to access the website. This means that only the display adjust – or responds according to the screen size.
Google also makes the following recommendations:
Avoid using flash or other software that is not common on mobile devices.
Use text that is readable without zooming.
Use content that does not force the searcher to scroll or zoom.
Links must be far enough apart so that they can be easily tapped.
In the USA, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information. But what is perhaps more interesting is that 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work where desktop computers are likely to be available. Clearly consumers prefer the convenience of mobile devices.
Don’t be caught flat footed. Design your site to make it easier for your customers to perform the most common tasks from conception, to completion with the greatest of ease.