The era of the home PC as the dominant resource for accessing the web is over, and the rapidly growing mobile market can no longer be ignored.
You don’t even need to use your own customer base and their browsing habits as an example to understand that this is an accepted truth. Take a second to think back to all the times you’ve used your own phone or tablet to check your email, read the news, dig into some research, or do just about anything else that, for years, we thought was only possible on a desktop or notebook.
While this evolution has made for some very exciting, very innovative advances in phone and tablet technology, it has also had a significant impact on web marketing and design, as business owners scramble to meet the needs of a market that’s growing faster than it’s possible to keep up with.
The end result has been a shift in the way we approach the creation, development and design of websites, because we’re now making them for a whole new market, for individuals who are viewing them in an entirely different way.
Why Mobile Matters for SEO
Okay, you get it: mobile visitors are growing and your website’s design should reflect that in order to give them an experience that’s as satisfying as it is for desktop users.
But what many business owners don’t know is that having a mobile-friendly website can make a significant difference in where they rank in search results, and that, as of April 21, 2015, it’s going to matter more than ever.
Google has long favoured sites with mobile-friendly designs. It makes sense: the entire goal of their algorithm, the manner in which they rank websites, is to ensure that users who are searching for something get the most relevant, valuable and useful results. So if you’re searching from a phone, Google is much more inclined to provide you with websites that will work well and look good on a phone. Simple, right?
Well, they’ve taken this a step further, and have announced that as of April 21, 2015, they will be taking mobile-friendliness much more seriously as a ranking signal, and that this will have a definite impact on mobile search results. Websites that don’t emphasize a mobile-friendly design and experience will very likely find themselves falling in the rankings from searches performed on phones, which – given the growth of this market – could have a serious impact on web traffic and, eventually, sales and conversions.
What This Means for Your Business
The bottom line of this announcement is that there is no longer any more gray when it comes to the issue of web design for phones. The stakes are clear: if you’re a business with a website, that website needs to be mobile-friendly, or you risk alienating your visitors and losing online relevance over time.
That means getting in touch with whoever it is that’s in charge of your web design and SEO as soon as possible and finding out what they plan on doing about this change. Information you should find out from this correspondence includes:
• How much do they know about this change?
• How are we currently ranking for mobile results?
• Have they been making preparations for this? Do they have a plan? If so, how much of it is ready to be enacted?
• How are competitor websites looking? Are they ahead? Behind?
• Is there anything that they don’t think will be done by the deadline? If so, how much of an impact will this have?
Make sure you lay out all your questions and concerns in this conversation. Whoever is taking care of your web design and SEO should consider this a priority, as it has several long-term implications for your business.
A New Era of Web Marketing and Design
Whatever else this announcement means, one thing is clear: we are now in a new era of web marketing and design. We’ve long since surpassed the days when a keyboard, mouse and monitor were all necessary for accessing the web, and although a change this significant may be a bit of a shock, it’s not surprising to see Google moving in this direction.
Regardless, it’s a change for which businesses need to be prepared, so mark your calendars for April 21, get moving on establishing contact with whoever’s in charge of your web design and SEO, and make sure they’ve got a plan in place.