Google’s Recent Search Ranking Updates And How They Affect Local Businesses
If you have a local business and you want to stay competitive, and get found in an online search, you need to make sure that your website is search engine friendly.
As a search engine optimization (SEO) consultant, I pride myself on staying informed on the latest ways to help websites get and stay on the first page of Google.
I wanted to update all of you on Google recent algorithm changes and let you know how it has been affecting several small businesses with whom I have been working. I have had a number of requests for assistance because people have noticed a decline in website traffic as well as a resulting drop in leads generated from their websites. In most of these cases, their websites were not built recently using the latest technology and therefore were not mobile-friendly.
Google’s Algorithm Change
For those of you who do not know, on April 21, 2015, Google released a new ranking algorithm that favors websites that are mobile friendly. In Google’s description of this change in website ranking they stated, “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
What Does Mobile-Friendly Mean?
Mobile-friendliness had to do with user experience. People are using many different types of devices to view your website. These include desktop computers, laptops, tablets, e-readers, and mobile devices/phones. The devices have different screen sizes and use different browsers so the desktop version of a website may be difficult to view and use on a mobile device. As a result, the version that’s not mobile-friendly requires the user to scroll, zoom, or pinch the screen so they can read the content. If you’ve experienced this, you know it can be a frustrating experience and as a result, you are likely to quickly leave the site. On the other hand, a mobile-friendly version is easily readable and organized for simple navigation so you can find what you want quickly and with little effort.
How To Find Out If Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
You can simply type you’re the domain name of your website into your mobile device browser to check and see how easy your site is to read and navigate. If your find that you need to scroll, pinch and zoom in order to read the content- then it’s time for an update to your site. For a more comprehensive tool to check your mobile-friendliness- Google has created a testing tool for you to use to check if your site is mobile friendly. You simply enter your webpage URL and you get the results within a minute. Take the Mobile-Friendly Test here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
What to Do If Your Website Passes The Test?
- Check the website yourself on a mobile device to make sure it loads quickly, is easy to navigate and has a nice picture, text design and layout,
- Have the site reviewed to see if you need upgrades in order to improve your search engine results (SEO ranking), as well as the readability and functionality of content on a mobile device.
What To Do If Your Website Is Not Mobile Friendly?
If your site fails the test- it’s time to update your website before Google penalizes your site by ranking you poorly in a search ranking. If you have seen a drop in web traffic and/or leads from your website- then this has probably already taken place.
Updating Your Website
There is a wide range in the amount of time and cost needed to update website. The cost is dependent on when your website was built, and the technology used to build it, so I recommend you have an analysis done and get a quote on the work needed. You may need to upgrade your website to a platform that supports responsive design, the technology used to build mobile-friendly sites. It might also make sense to do some updates to your website content and have the web developer evaluate your website’s search engine optimization as well.
I recommend avoiding mobile-friendly plugins or add-on template mobile sites as they can be error prone, and need fixing due to coding and compatibility issues. Also these template mobile sites do not index well in a search for various reasons beyond the scope of this article.
How to Get More Referrals-Update Your Website
Most of my client’s who decided to fix these mobile-friendliness issues reported good feedback from their customers on their websites, increased website activity and ranking, as well as a jump in referrals and sales. By taking care of your mobile-friendliness -you can ensure that anyone going to your website has a good user experience and prevent a drop in your sites ranking so you can be more easily found online. If I can help with this process- just give me a holler at 781-956-9999.
Here is a link to Google’s announcement on mobile-friendly ranking:
Summary: article discusses How to Get more Referrals and the importance of mobile friendly technology in website development