Is your website mobile-friendly? If not, don't be surprised if its ranking plummets on Google search results.
"Mobilegeddon" is here, and websites that aren't mobile-friendly will suffer from the latest Google apocalypse. The search giant is officially updating its algorithms today (April 21) to favor websites that look and perform better on mobile devices, making them appear higher on search results.
Previous changes to Google's algorithm simply required website owners to make sure their websites are mobile-optimized for better viewing on smartphones and tablets. Now, factors such as readability, responsive design and not using non-mobile friendly software (like Flash) will also be taken into consideration in a website's search ranking. [Google for Business: A Small Business Guide]
Here's what the new Google SEO changes mean and what it means for small businesses.
As more and more users view websites on mobile devices, Google wants to make it easier to find relevant, mobile-optimized websites. To this end, Google will now use mobile-friendliness as a factor in ranking search results.
To make your website mobile-friendly, Google suggests taking the following steps:
- Visit Google's guide to mobile-friendly sites. This page offers several ways to make your site more mobile-friendly, such as by using software or a third-party developer.
- Take Google's Mobile-Friendly Test to see how optimized your website is for mobile viewing. You can test a single page on your site or several webpages and see exactly how Google's own Googlebot views the pages when determining search results.
- Use Webmaster Tools to generate a Mobile Usability Report, which helps identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.
In addition to favoring mobile-friendly websites, Google announced last month that it will also factor content from mobile apps when ranking search results.
Called App Indexing, this new feature indexes apps for content, then shows those apps more prominently in search results. Note that this only works when users are signed in to Google and have the website's mobile app installed on their devices.
Google does not automatically index app content, however. Webmasters will need to manually activate App Indexing for app content to be scanned and to appear on search results. To help you get started, Google offers this step-by-step guide to App Indexing.
For additional help and resources, Webmasters can also browse or post questions about mobile website ranking and App Indexing at Google's Webmaster Help Forum.