In November Google started warning website owners about the importance of sites being mobile-friendly. We saw this example in mobile search results with the label “mobile-friendly” added to search engines results page listings.
Then in February they made it official, stating that as of April 21, 2015 (TODAY), a new algorithm change will go into effect, meaning that whether a site is mobile-friendly or not will affect on your mobile search rankings.
Back in March I wrote a post on our blog — Google Drew A Line In The Sand: Your Site Better Be Responsive (Mobile-Friendly) — that details the announcements, shows you examples and screenshots, and provides more details about responsive design and mobile-friendly site design.
Mobilegeddon is fear-mongering at its worst.
Marketers and less experienced web designers and developers have been putting the fear of Google into website owners over the last 4-6 weeks, with scary warnings and threats… and some serious misinformation. What makes my stomach turn though, is those who are cheering for the change solely because it’s a way to scare/persuade past clients to hire them again to redesign their site and rework the code.
Let’s look at the reality of this algorithm change and what it means for you.
While responsive design has been a standard for a while, and basically became mandatory among quality designers and developers in early 2014, there were, and are today some service providers still building static websites. It’s unfortunate, but true. Hopefully this shift from Google will change that.
If you have an older site that was built before responsive design existed, or when it was still considered an optional item or a luxury, you may not need to freak out just yet.
First, understand that this change is for mobile search only.
That means this change will only affect searches done through a browser on mobile phones and smart phones — not tablets, not laptops, not desktops. It doesn’t effect traffic from social media, traffic from other sites, traffic from email, or direct traffic.
Second, look at your analytics and real data.
Don’t just read the announcement, freak out, add stress to your life, and spend money without a true purpose. Look at your site data.
- Are people coming to your site from mobile search?
- How many people are coming to your site from mobile search?
- What percentage of your traffic is from mobile search?
You may be surprised at the results!
If you are a local business, like a restaurant, frozen yogurt shop, or retail store, this is going to matter more to you because people use mobile search to find local businesses.
But if you’re not a local, brick-and-mortar business, it may not matter as much for you right now.
For example, we have had several friends reach out, worried about the update and it’s affect on their business. But after reviewing the data, we found the update won’t really affect them because less than 1% of their traffic was from mobile search.
This means that there is no reason for them to stress and worry and spend money they may not have right now to make their site mobile or redesign their site. Instead, knowing now that mobile-friendliness will only become more important, they can plan for the update or redesign of their site, and take their time to do it right without undue stress.
If your website is not responsive…
If you have a static website that is not mobile-friendly, chances are it’s also a few years old or even older, and it may be time to look at a strategic redesign instead of band-aiding your old site with a mobile plugin that creates a less-than-stellar brand experience.
A strategic website redesign isn’t just a pretty facelift with a more modern design. It’s a comprehensive look at how visitors are using the site, what content is and is not working, what your conversions points are and where they can be improved, and making the best plan of action for your business and objectives.
If you’re interested in a full strategic redesign, we should talk and make a plan.