Google is getting serious about making sure that your site is ready for the mobile user. They have begun sending automated emails from Google Webmaster Tools to let website owners know when they encounter pages with a poor mobile experience. In this warning they state that, “we have encountered pages on your site that provide a poor mobile experience… these pages will not be seen as mobile friendly and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smart phone users.”
Many reports are showing that these changes will be happening on April 21st
Here’s what that means.
Sites Will be Displayed Appropriately
Sites will be Displayed accordingly. What does that mean? You may have noticed that when you use Google on your smartphone you see that some search results are labeled as mobile friendly (see the image to the right). Google has also been known to flag sites that use flash. They also flag sites that are unsecure or sites that may contain viruses.
In a nutshell Google is going to let users know that your site will not be easily viewed on a mobile device if your site is not mobile ready. However, the line in the warning that states, sites will be ranked appropriately, suggests that if your site isn’t mobile ready you will be lucky if anyone finds it while searching on their phone.
Sites Will be Ranked Appropriately
Sites will be ranked appropriately suggests a big change is coming to how sites are ranked on Google when searchers are using a smartphone. We have known for a while that Google ranks sites differently on mobile devices than they do on desktops and PCs. This warning, and remarks that reps from Google made at the search marketing conference SMX West suggests that Google is getting better at ranking sites for mobile devices.
In sum, if your site isn’t ready to be seen on mobile you will probably not be found by users who are searching for you on a mobile device.
Should I Care?
I often hear website owners say, “nobody visits our site on a mobile device.” Or, “we are a B2B company, we don’t need to be accessible on a mobile device. Well here are some of the numbers you should know. (you can find this info and more here)
- In early 2014 mobile became the dominant audience online.
- Over 50% of the users that click on ads in search results are on mobile devices
- When surveyed B2B consumers answered yes 84% of the time when asked if they research B2B products with a tablet
- When surveyed B2B consumers answered yes 72% of the time when asked if they research B2B products with a smartphone
Mobile Case Study
If you’re not convinced that mobile is important take a look at the growth of mobile users to this site. This chart shows the monthly visitors who accessed the site with either a tablet or smartphone since January of 2009. This is an increase in mobile visitors of 13,433%!
What Can I Do?
Get Your site ready for mobile users as soon as you can. Don’t rush it, get it right, and serve your audience.