Last March 16, 2016 Google made an announcement reiterating the importance of mobile friendly websites. In that very important notice, Google highlighted the immediacy of ensuring the mobile-friendliness of websites by telling that come May 2016 sites that are mobile-friendly will rank even higher on mobile search results page.
Looking back, Google pre-emptively informed website owners and those that maintain and manage websites last year the imminent introduction of the mobile-friendly algorithm that the search engine giant would implement. In April 10, 2015 an insightful article was published at RapidCloud informing about Google’s rolling-out of the mobile-friendly algorithm update which the search engine king would implement on April 21, 2015. In that article, it was mentioned that the new algorithm will definitely have a major impact on the rankings of websites on mobile search results on a global scale that will affect all websites across the globe and across languages.
In the same site a follow-up article last May 10, 2015 was also published reiterating the impact of having a mobile-friendly site vis-a-vis Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm. That particular article enunciated in unequivocal terms the need to adopt Google’s new algorithmic change. It also rationalized Google’s hyping and focus in adapting the said algorithm due to the growing global trend regarding mobile usage and that businesses should also follow suit to benefit from the algorithmic shifts such as the mobile-friendly algorithmic update.
2016: The Year of the Global Explosion of Mobile Usage
Given the phenomenal growth of mobile use worldwide, getting good quality and appropriate answers when searchers do an online query should not be dependent of the device being used. Mobile searchers should have the same quality of search results, with websites displaying content in such a way that users would not be hampered even though they are using small-screened devices such as a smartphones, tablets or phablets.
Last year’s introduction of the mobile-friendly algorithm as a ranking signal in ranking websites on mobile search queries underscores the need to adapt with the changing times and the explosive growth of use of mobile devices. Google’s goal is to provide the best user experience especially for mobile device users. The repercussions of not doing so is staggering.
The figure above was culled from the report published by We Are Social earlier this year which showed, among others, the number of unique mobile users for 2016 which was calculated to be at 3.790 billion. This means that 51.250% of the world’s population are using mobile devices. Translated, this means that for every 10 individuals, 5 of them owns or are using mobile devices.
In the same report, 3,419,000,000 (3.419) billion people are internet users. Of this number, 38.6% are using their mobile devices to surf, browse and search online. Translated, this means 1,319,734,000 (1.320) billion people in planet Earth are accessing the web using their mobile devices.
The figures above and those being showed from the report mentioned only illustrates succinctly the enormous power and potential of mobile devices in relation to online search. There exist a shift of usage from the traditional desktop-based online search queries that dominate earlier modes of browsing and searching the web to the more Bohemian way that mobile search has introduced on the later part of the 21st century.
The internet trends cited above only highlights the power that mobile search has gained over the years. Mobile search trends are expected to even becoming more dominant in the years in terms of the mounting number of search queries as it continues to outdo other modes of web search across other devices such as desktops and laptops.
Mobile Search: Its Significance and Impact
Today’s fast-paced and dynamic modern world is reflected by people of all types, ages and ethnicity that are always on the go. Technological innovations and breakthroughs in communications and connectivity is fuelled by the fact that people are always travelling from one part of the globe to the other which necessarily means the need for mobile devices that can enable people to access information – the right information at the right time – right at their fingertips. Portable and mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, phablets and the like enables people on the go to get connected online, browse and search the net, do shopping, book flights, check stocks and others.
That’s not saying much that Google will not capitalize on this, thus the move to make the ranking of mobile-friendly sites’ rise on the top of mobile search results page. With the more recent update on Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm, mobile-friendliness joins the ranks of other ranking signals that can and will influence how website are ranked in search results across different platforms and devices.
Businesses too would greatly benefit in optimizing their respective sites to be mobile-friendly. If your website appears sleeker, more user friendly, responsive and easy to navigate with using mobile devices, people would gravitate and visit those sites often. People on the go needs a go-to place to do things in their own pace. A website appearing broken, unresponsive and generally do not satisfy mobile users can get discarded and frown upon. Remember the statistical data we’ve presented above? More and more people are on mobile. That’s the business potential you need to tap into.
E-commerce sites that are optimised to be mobile responsive makes it easier for mobile shoppers to shop online using the device that is more convenient to them – their smartphones. Translated, this means more conversions and increased earning potentials.
The May Mobilegeddon Mayhem: Wrath of the Search Titan or Is It?
Websites that do not conform or that haven’t optimized their sites to be mobile-friendly version would be affected in terms of mobile search ranks while sites that do optimise; with easy to read, access, and mobile-responsive would earn Google’s preferential and higher mobile rank treatment.
The good news is that like the April 2015 announcement of the mobile-friendly algorithm, this May’s update to the said algorithm gives sufficient time to website owners and those that manages sites to optimise and be mobile-friendly. May’s a bit long way and the more than four weeks can be utilized to make sure that their respective sites are optimized for mobile device users. That is, if they want to rank and rank higher in Google’s mobile search results.
Consider Google’s announcement as a fair warning. Remember, websites and its pages that do not conform with this algorithmic update can experience a significant decrease in mobile traffic and can also affect their site’s mobile search rankings. This new algorithmic update applies only to individual pages and not necessarily the totality of the entire site. Plainly speaking, it would mean that if a website has optimized some of its pages for mobile users, then that particular page gets preferential treatment and a rank boost in Google’s mobile search results page compared to pages in the same site that do not optimized.
So, how would your site be eligible for Google’s coveted mobile-friendly tag? Here are four (4) major things that your site need to adhere and meet as detected by Google’s Googlebot in real time:
1. Your website does not use software that mobile devices would find hard to load or display like Flash.
2. The lay-out and text being displayed are of the right size and readable without the need of zooming.
3. The size of the website’s contents are easily seen and fits the screen of users without the need to scroll horizontally and does not need to zoom in just to read or see the content.
4. If there are links on your site, those links are placed far enough that it would be easy to click and tap those links.
Google, the undisputed titanic search engine on Planet Earth has many reasons that it needs to insure a much better search and online experience for the billions of mobile device users world-wide. And so does online advertisers, marketers and website owners like you! With an ever increasing number of people accessing online contents, websites and other data using mobile devices such as smartphones, phablets, tablets and other similar devices, it can be said that the future of the web and the succeeding innovations that the web may take will come from the mobile world.
You still have time to put in place measures to make sure that your website is mobile friendly before the scheduled May 2016 global roll-out of the mobile-friendly algorithm that Google have announced. Google’s been kind enough, like it was last year, to provide a link to check if your site’s mobile friendly already of not. If you want to find out if indeed your site conforms with the recent algorithmic update, use the Mobile Friendly Test of Google.