By Jeff Kamikow
When Google calls the tune, the rest of us follow. Our experience of the Internet changes every time they make a change to their algorithm. Another change is coming out in May, but unlike earlier changes Google is announcing the details in advance. It involves improving the rankings of mobile friendly websites.
Last year, Google said that it was going to increase the rankings of mobile-friendly pages on its mobile browser. Now they plan on “increasing the effect” of their mobile-friendly ranking signals in order to continue improving its search results on mobile devices. This comes after previous updates when Google added a mobile friendly tag and then adjusted the mobile search rankings based on the mobile readiness of web pages.
It is important for web developers to get their sites mobile ready now if they want to retain ranking on mobile searches. Ever since May of last year, the number of searches on mobile has exceeded the ones on desktop. If your goal is to reach the maximum amount of online users, your target audience must include smartphone users. Using a responsive site design is a good start, and is recommended by Google, but it may not be enough to meet all of Google’s requirements to receive the mobile friendly label in search results.
Google looks for several features on a web page to classify it as mobile friendly. These include things like using a text size that’s readable without zooming, and sizing content so it doesn’t need zooming or horizontal scrolling. Another feature is the placement of links. Links must be far enough apart so that a user can tap the one they want without confusion. Google also likes sites that don’t use technologies that aren’t used on phones.
The big G has also released a couple of tools to help web developers get their sites ready for the changes. The first is their mobile-friendly test tool. Just place the URL of a website into the search bar and Google will analyze it for mobile-friendliness. It’s a fast check, but if you want even more details, check out their Mobile Friendly Websites Guide. And if you are already mobile-friendly, learn what Google is looking at for mobile SEO rankings using this guide.
How does your site rank on a smartphone? Try running some searches on your website and on your keywords. Do you see Google’s mobile friendly label next to your sites? If so, great! You shouldn’t have anything to worry about with the upcoming update. If not, go through the guides and tools and get your site ready before this next wave of re-ranking happens. A short check now could save your ranking later.