Yesterday, the Google Webmaster Central blog announced yet another update to their mobile search engine results pages (SERPs) that directly addresses the importance of needing a mobile-optimized website from hereon in (if your online business expects to keep up with competition).
I find myself using the words “yet another” quite a bit in relation to Google SERPs and mobile optimization these days. They have not been quiet in their assertion that webmasters had best get with the times if they expect to use their SERP to bring in customers. Read further to learn more about this important update and what you need to know to move forward with your own website.
Google Adds a Mobile-Friendly Message to Mobile Search Engine Results – What Your Business Needs to Know
1. “Mobile-Friendly” Literally Displayed
Google is adding a literal “Mobile-Friendly” label to all sites listed on the mobile search engine results page. Below is a screenshot of what this label will look like:
Note how the label is subtly yet quite notably displayed for all searchers to see. There is no getting around the fact that searchers will be more likely to click results with this label, over competitors who do not, when using their smartphones and tablets to perform a Google search.
2. Why Is Google Doing This? Because Mobile Search Will Exceed Desktop in All of 2015+
2014 was the first year that mobile traffic patterns exceeded that of desktop since the beginning of the internet. 2015 will be the first year that maintains this behavior from beginning to end. Unless the zombie apocalypse arrives in 2016 these figures will continue grow in favor of mobile until every search we perform will be born from within the palm of our hands.
3. But Really, Why is Google Doing This? To Improve User Experience, of Course
Google truly does do all that it can to improve the user experience for anyone using their smartphones and tablets to perform search. Searchers grow frustrated when they click-through a result to find a webpage that requires then to squint and subsequently pinch and scroll sideways to view the content they were looking for. This passed year I have personally analyzed the mobile bounce rates of numerous sites that are not fully mobile-optimized and have seen these numbers skyrocket. Online businesses that have been slow to adopt to the trend, in response, have opted to convert to responsive design to meet the demands of their on-the-go customers.
3. Timeline and Geographic Roll-Out of this “Mobile-Friendly” Update
The update will begin rolling out over the next few weeks. Assume that it starts today. As opposed to many previous like-minded updates the U.S. will not be the only the one to enjoy the altered SERP in the beginning. This one will take effect globally. By the time Holiday season is in full-swing the entire planet will be treated to “mobile-friendly” messaging in their mobile search results.
4. Eligibility to Receive the “Mobile-Friendly” Label
The Webmaster Central blog informs webmasters that Googlebot will deem a webpage eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if their websites meet the following criteria:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
5. Use the Tools Available to You to Diagnose Your Website
This week Google added a quick and easy mobile testing tool that will allow webmasters to diagnose whether or not their website is optimized for smartphones and tablets. The results show exactly how your site will display on a smartphone, reward you with a “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.” message (or otherwise) while providing those that do not with the necessary developer recommendations to fix the issue. Take the test and if you don’t get the results you hoped for contact an internet marketing firm that specializes in converting websites to responsive design.
The literal message that Google has added to it’s mobile search engine results may be as simple as it gets, but it’s loud and clear – if your online business expects to capture customers your website needs to 100% optimized for the mobile experience. Today.
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