If you own a website, it’s highly likely that by now you’ll have received one or two emails trying to scare you into buying a responsive or mobile-friendly version of your website, most likely at an outrageously inflated price. So, let me just tell you some of the facts about the coming Google mobile website algorithm change and how it may affect your website.
First of all, let’s put something to bed right away. As of April the 21st, Google is definitely changing its algorithm with respect to websites that are visible (or not) on mobile phones.
However, it is not absolutely essential that you update your website before that date. Yes, you may lose some rankings in the search engines for people who search on their phones, but your website will not be completely just de-listed by Google. In fact, Google won’t remove your website from their listings at all, contrary to the claims of some unscrupulous website guys.
So, what is the upshot of the Google change on April the 21st?
Well, first of all, the question should be asked, do you need a mobile website? And the short answer is, yes, you do. However, you don’t necessarily need a mobile website before the 21st of April if the overwhelming majority of the traffic to your website is on non-mobile devices. And I mean non-mobile as tablet computers, desktop computers, and laptops.
So, what’s Google aiming to do? One of the things that they’ve been very keen on is to give people the best results for their search depending on their circumstances and their search preferences. So, if large numbers of people in your market search for your product on a mobile phone, then you could readily argue that it is essential to get your website mobile-friendly as soon as possible.
However, if a big chunk of your market uses desktop computers, or laptops, or tablet computers, then it’s not so essential to have your website mobile-friendly immediately. Yes, it’s good practice to have it mobile-friendly because mobile phones are increasingly used by people to search for things on Google. But, if the overwhelming majority of your audience — let’s say for example over 90% of people don’t use a mobile to search for your services and products, then the impetus to have it done right away really isn’t there. Like I said, yes, you will need in time to have a mobile-friendly website, but it doesn’t need to be done right now.
So, a quick way of checking this is to use Google Analytics because, if you have analytics on your website, you can see what devices people are using to come to your website (see the video below). And you can then take a look at whether you’re likely to suffer badly if you don’t have a mobile website because you can compare the number of people on your website who use mobile devices. And, if that percentage is really, really, small, then there’s no immediate concern.
So, if you’re unsure, check with your guy who helps you with your website or give us a call to install analytics on your website. You can examine the results over the coming few weeks, and then you can decide whether the Google mobile website algorithm change is a big deal and that you need to jump on the mobile-friendly website thing immediately.
If you’re in the business-to-business arena, the chances are good it’s not an immediate concern. You aren’t going to lose listings from Google and you’re not going to lose much traffic from Google because your site isn’t mobile-friendly. It just means that the results that people get when they’re searching on their mobile will not readily include your website because your website isn’t built for use on a mobile.
So, if mobile traffic is important to you, sort your website out pronto. If mobile traffic is not so vital, and being found on a mobile phone isn’t so important to you, then you’ve got a bit of time, probably quite a bit of time because Google are not so foolish as to destroy their market because that’s how they make their money.
So, the key points are
- if your website depends on mobile traffic, yes, you need to sort your website out quickly.
- If your website isn’t so dependent on mobile phone traffic, then you’ve got some time and you can sort it out at a later date.
- But, for goodness sake, don’t believe the hype of these website developers who are sending out messages calling it Armageddon for your website. Don’t believe them. It’s not Armageddon. It takes a bit of level-headed thought. It takes a bit of investigation using Google Analytics to look at what traffic is coming to your site from the mobile. And, then, you can make an educated decision.
If you’d like to talk to us about it, give us a call and we’d be more than happy to discuss the issues with you and see what we could do. I hope that helps. If you have any comments, please let me know below.
I think the best solution would be using a mobile responsive template and than fetching it in Google webmaster tools for mobile:smartphone to make sure Google index the blog in this period and we could get the benefit of this search engine algorithm update. I did this for my blog and i am pretty sure that this search engine update is going to increase my search engine appearance.
Thanks for the comment Pratibha. You’re right, the best thing would be the mobile template. But not everyone has one so it’s a case of how urgent it should be to update your site, as mentioned in the article.