Back in March 2015 we talked about Google’s algorithm change that would start rewarding mobile-friendly websites in the rankings for mobile search. This saw many websites that had held out and not converted their websites to mobile-friendly formats lose significant search exposure as their rankings dropped. Given that the majority of search has been taking place on mobile for some time now, it’s no surprise that Google have developed this mobile-friendly algorithm further, announcing that the second version has been fully rolled out last week.
FYI The mobile changes mentioned here are now fully rolled out. https://t.co/fTB3ia6LJ2
— John Mueller (@JohnMu) May 12, 2016
This latest change aims to boost the effect of the mobile-friendly ranking signal – that is, greater rewarding mobile-friendly websites for mobile search. As this algorithm works page-by-page it will have taken some time for Google to crawl all the web pages. This does link in with a temporary feature we reported in Search Console, where there was an option to crawl your webpage using “Smartphone – upcoming”, which could have been a test run of this new algorithm’s crawl bots.
Websites that are already mobile-friendly, needn’t worry as this latest change shouldn’t have any effect. However, websites that are yet to convert to a mobile-friendly format could see a further decline in mobile search rankings. Although this seems punitive, it does make perfect sense as it protects the UX of mobile users using Google by avoiding websites where the text is too small, the buttons and links too close together, the images are tiny etc.
Do you definitely need to invest in a mobile-friendly website?
In the long-term, we would say yes. The trend of internet users shifting to mobile is only going to continue and we will see mobile search gaining even more of a majority share in the coming years. Some sectors generally have a much higher proportion of users on mobile, such as retail compared to B2B sectors for example. So we would advise checking your Google Analytics to see what proportion of users on your website are visiting on mobile devices. This will give an indication of how important it is for you to consider going mobile-friendly, although bear in mind that if your website is completely mobile-unfriendly, then you may not get any mobile users anyway! You can check how mobile-friendly your website is using Google’s tool.
If you want to find out more about if this change will have an effect on your website’s ranking, speak to one of our team today!