Google has recently announced a change in its search algorithm. What does this mean? They now cater to mobile-friendly sites. This change only applies to searches done through mobile, but given that searches made on mobile devices have surpassed searches from desktops, this is something that every eCommerce company should take seriously.
The good news is that the algorithm applies on a page by page basis; so the parts of your website that are mobile friendly, Google will only take into account those pages only in its rankings. The ‘unfriendly’ portions will not turn up in the rankings, but it will not affect the ranking of the entire site.
The algorithm works on a real time basis which means that improving the mobile friendliness of your website will give you immediate results.
How mobile friendly are you?
If you’re not sure of how friendly your site is, check out Google’s mobile friendly testing tool, which will tell you on a page by page basis how friendly your website is. You can test it with Google’s tool here. A mobile-friendly website is different than a mobile app. Mobile applications must be downloaded per device. A mobile-friendly website automatically adjusts the layout depending on the device used by the visitor, also known as responsive design. These sites offer the user a much better mobile experience.
How will it affect your ranking?
How much this change affects your eCommerce website will depend on how much traffic your website gets from people accessing it on mobile devices; remember this algorithm change only applies to mobile devices and not desktops or laptops. But, even if the majority of your business comes from desktops, it’s not going to stay that way for long. Several studies show that mobile devices have already overtaken desktops in accessing the Internet and this dominance of mobile devices is only set to grow in the coming years.
Improving friendliness through responsive sites
Many businesses use responsive designs. Since the primary aim of Google is to make its searches more relevant to each user, this is a good way to improve your ranking in mobile devices as long as you avoid common mistakes that many websites make, like unplayable content and irrelevant cross-links. You can read more about these on Google’s “Avoid Common Mistakes Page” here.
Get a competitive edge
This change is set to come into force on April 21st and will be applicable all over the world. No matter where your business is set up, it will be affected by this change. Of course, being mobile-friendly is only one of the factors that will be newly incorporated into the existing Google algorithm; existing factors like relevance and popularity will still play a major role. If you have a well-established business, you are unlikely to see an immediate drop in the ranking. Making your site responsive will give you an advantage on the competition.