One of the largest groups that will be affected by Google's new mobility website checks will be small business owners. In Canada, it is bad enough that only 50% of small businesses even have a website, but for those that have made the investment, they may be hit with another set back. As of April 21, Google has announced they will be changing their algorithm to benefit those websites that are mobile friendly.
You are asking yourself, how does this affect my website. As more users continue to increase searching on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, they are most likely searching your website on those devices as well. If they are, and if your website is not mobile friendly, it will rank lower than any of your competitors that have a mobile friendly site.
What does Mobile Friendly Mean?
Mobile friendly is more than just having your site display on a mobile device. Mobile friendly means:
Questions you may be asking yourself:
Google has tools available that can be accessed through your Webmaster Tools. They allow you to run your website through the tools to understand whether it will pass for mobile friendly.
In order to determine how important this might be to you, you may want to look at your Google Analytics and determine how many people are searching your website from mobile devices. Our mobile traffic on our website is 30% of all traffic, so it was extremely important for us to convert our websites. That number has steadily increased over the last year and will continue to increase over time for most websites. If I just think about myself, the majority of searches I make for products, services, or for information when I am not sitting at my desk at the office is on my Samsung smartphone or tablet. Think about who your potential customers are and that will help you determine how you will be affected by this change.
If your website is not compliant and you have purchased a website in the last year or two and your web developer did not discuss mobility as an option with you, it may not be as easy as going back to your current web development company. You may want to consider looking for a web development company that advertises development of responsive or mobile sites and make sure that after you make the investment, that your site conforms. Be sure to ask for reference sites.
If you are looking to upgrade or make major changes to your website, you might consider looking at having a responsive website developed for your business. A responsive design is one that conforms to whatever device the site is running. If you just invested in a new site and were not looking to spend a lot of money right now on your website, you might consider going the mobile site option. This option provides a separate site for mobile devices which contains only the most pertinent information.
There will still be a cost and in most cases an extra hosting fee, but it will cost as much as a responsive site. An example of a responsive site can be seen in the picture above. There are products such as Go Mobi that allow developers to create a separate mobile site for you business.
Even if you do not have a lot of traffic today for your website on mobile devices, this is something you will want to think about over the next while as moving to mobile is inevitable for us all.
The key question is is just on how long it will take before mobile users outweigh desktop. I don't believe this time is very far off - don't have your website lose out.
RK Fischer & Associates