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MOBILE FIRST: A final push for the procrastinators

23rd Apr 2015

The update to the Google algorithms in favour of mobile-friendly sites that took place on 21st April was an inevitable step made by Google and certainly not one to be ignored.  

The impact is expected to be huge – far bigger than the Panda and Penguin updates - and both large and small brands are set to be effected. (Note that eBay lost 80 per cent of its prime rankings in the last Google update with analysts suggesting that it could have cost the site approximately five per cent of growth off its gross merchandising volume).

The prediction is that over 12 per cent of mobile search queries will be impacted.

The reason Google is so popular is because it supports the user experience and favours those who offer the best visits to their customers. It has taken this latest step in recognition of the fact that the number of users browsing the web using a mobile is on the increase while browsing using a desktop is on the decline. Some estimates are quoting that over 60 per cent of all Google searches are being made on mobile devices and so Google’s single aim is to ensure that these mobile users get the best experience. 

The mobile-friendly update is set to boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages and will take approximately a week to register full impact. (Google has stated that it may take up to a few weeks for the algorithm to roll out). It only impacts searches done on mobile smartphone devices and works on a page by page basis, in real time, so it is critical that you ensure that your most important pages are indexed by Google as mobile friendly sooner rather than later. 

Time to get acquainted with Google’s mobile-friendly test

If you’re not mobile-friendly, you need to know why and what resources are available to fix it. Your hard-won ranking is at stake because the mobile requirement, viewed by many as an add-on option, is now up there, along with functionality and content. With the majority of its users now surfing on mobiles, Google has made it clear - a great mobile site will be rewarded in terms of SEO.

And so what can we expect of the fall-out from the most significant change made by Google in its history?  The expectation is that sites designed for mobile will be rewarded with higher rankings, elevating them above the competition and providing them with the opportunity to enjoy more traffic. But what about the naysayers? Will they fall far in the search rankings, losing a percentage of their visitors in the face of their refusal to act?

Current research suggests that the top organic search position in Google receives 53% of clicks from search users, followed by 15% for position two and 9% for position three. Anyone enjoying these positions that does not have a mobile first site is destined to take a significant tumble.

It’s a kick up the proverbial for those who haven’t made the necessary improvements already. Although great content still counts and high quality content will still push your ranking up, you cannot afford to ignore your mobile visitors.

Google is basically standing where you should be – with your customers. Remember that these changes favour your customers. They are now more likely to get relevant, high quality search results, optimised for their devices – it’s just the site they end up on might not be yours if you don’t take the right action soon.