Our post last month on Google’s pending “Mobile Friendly” algorithm update got a considerable amount of attention from our readers. We got comments that ranged from “Yikes!” to “What can you do to make sure my website isn’t penalized?” We definitely didn’t mean to scare you, but this update — which is scheduled for April 21 — is going to be a significant one for Google Search Results.
Currently, if you are searching via a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet, Google annotates your search results. Right beneath the page title and URL, if a site is optimized for mobile gray text notes that the site is “Mobile Friendly.” It’s subtle, but if a mobile web user has two options and one is mobile friendly, chances are they will tap on the mobile friendly site.
With this algorithm change, Google is taking things one step further — but it’s a pretty big step. Instead of just noting which sites are mobile friendly, sites that are not mobile friendly will not rank as highly as those that are. That means that even if you have a site that’s highly relevant to a search — say a customer is literally searching for your business by name — if your website isn’t mobile optimized, it may wind up ranking below others that are.
You might think that in this example that wouldn’t matter; why would another site rank more highly than your own for your business’s name? Well, if that site is Yelp, Facebook, or another major site that is mobile-optimized and contains a profile for your business, it could well wind up outranking you. Sure, in that scenario the customer would still find your business, but again, they won’t find you first (and if they find your Yelp reviews first… well we all know what Yelp reviews can be like).
Here’s the good news: We’ve researched this pending update extensively, and know what it takes to make your website mobile friendly not only to Google but also to the growing mobile audience. Though the exact timeframe depends on the complexity of your site, our reasonably priced mobile solutions can generally be implemented in just 1-2 weeks.
Don’t have the budget (or the time) to go mobile? At a minimum, you can have your site’s robots.txt file (what search engines read when they crawl your site) analyzed and updated. While it won’t change how mobile users see your site, it will help you avoid penalties from Google. Google has a page in Webmasters’ Tools that allows for a quick check to see whether “Googlebot” thinks your site is, if not mobile-optimized, at least mobile-friendly.
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In this case, the site tested did not pass. If your site doesn’t make the grade, for just $250 our SEO experts can analyze and edit your site’s files and settings to comply with the new mobile-friendly guidelines. This is a major update, so even if your budget doesn’t allow for a mobile version of your site, taking this action now can help you avoid search engine penalties.
If you’re not sure if your site is optimized for mobile, give us Higher Power SEO a call. Our team is ready to answer your questions and let you know if you need to take action. April 21st is right around the corner, so call us today! We’re here for you at 760-881-4736.