Have you ever wondered how Google decides which websites get top billing in SERPs and which ones get buried deep in the abyss of search results? Google’s algorithm for ranking websites includes a variety of ranking factors which it uses to determine where websites should rank in search results.
Google recently announced that it will begin taking more mobile factors into consideration in its search algorithm effective April 21st, 2015. While Google already factors in information from indexed mobile apps, the factors will be significantly expanded to include mobile-friendly websites.
What exactly does this mean for you, the small business owner with a website or a web app? Well, it is really good news if you already have a mobile-friendly, or responsive, website or an app that has already been indexed by Google because it will give you a leg up on your competitors without mobile-friendly sites or apps. If you don’t, your site will likely see a lower position in Google SERPs and probably other major search engines before too long.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Search Factors
Why is Google shifting their focus? Research that they have done over the past several years shows that a growing number of searchers are opting to use mobile devices instead of their laptops or desktops. A recent study by Google shows that 75% of mobile device users say they prefer viewing mobile-friendly websites over static websites. (No-brainer, right?) It all boils down to user experience, which is why responsive sites/apps will receive more favor.
Here are the some of the mobile factors that will be taken into account as Google’s search algorithm updates take effect:
Accessibility & Readability—This includes text that can comfortably be read on a smartphone or other mobile device without squinting, pinching and pulling.
Link Placement—Are the links, navigation, and buttons on your mobile site spaced appropriately so that the user can easily click them without inadvertently hitting the wrong link? Google will be taking this into account.
Vertical Scrolling—Google will also take into account whether or not your site requires any horizontal scrolling or zooming to see all of the content. Ideally you will want the user to be able to scroll vertically in order to view all of the content with ease. Font should be large enough to be easily read without manipulating your screen. As you can see in the example below, when going from desktop view to smartphone view, the content drops down so that no horizontal scrolling is required.
Penalization for Incompatible Software—Does your website use Flash or other software that isn’t compatible with mobile devices? If so, it’s time to revamp your website. Incompatible software irritates users, and Google has taken note.
As web users increasingly shift from desktop to mobile device usage, it only makes sense that Google will continue to emphasize and give preference to business websites that offer users the best online experience.
Ready to make the switch and take advantage of the many benefits of a responsive website? Give us a call, contact us online, or request a free web design quote. Our Boston web design company specializes in responsive websites that automatically adjust to fit any device—whether they are already on the market or new to the tech scene (think iWatch).
Image © Depositphotos.com/bagiuiani