Google's Mobile-Friendly Update and How It Affects Brands

01-06-2015

On April 21st, Google rolled out a mobile-friendly update to its search algorithm. The change allowed Google to start boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Searchers can now more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is easy to read without having to tap or zoom, as well as pages that avoid horizontal scrolling and unplayable content.

So to clarify, the update:

  • Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
  • Applies to individual pages, not whole websites
  • Affects search results in all languages globally

How does this affect brands?

There has been a push in recent years for brands to make their website mobile-friendly, but now it is important than ever – especially due to Google recently announcing that more searches are now made on Mobile than on Desktop. Brands should be embracing the new mobile algorithm instead of fearing it, so here’s some ways to keep up with the changes.

Responsive Design

Creative responsive web design is the best option for many websites, since it means your URL shows exactly the same HTML, regardless of what device it’s being viewed on. Depending on what screen size of the device being used, responsive web design makes sure your content is being displayed correctly. Responsive design also loads faster and lets your users find and share your content more easily. Google’s bots will also have the power to crawl and index your website’s content quicker.

Mobile SEO

There are countless mobile SEO recommendations to make your website benefit off Google’s new algorithm. One tip is to only use content that’s playable on all devices, so be sure not to block JavaScript, CSS and image files. Also make sure not to use any software that isn’t common on mobile, like Flash, and ensure all your redirects are working properly. To provide an optical user experience, use mobile 404s and try to avoid irrelevant cross links. All links on mobile should point to other mobile pages.

Optimise Content

Because mobile phones have small screens, users can only see a few lines at one time. But the key thing to remember when creating mobile content is that users can view it at any place at any time. When creating content, make sure it has short and snappy headlines, make text readable without the need to zoom in and space out links far enough apart so that each one is easy to press with a finger. It’s also important to think about the layout and structure of your content, since readers don’t enjoy looking at walls of text and may need to scroll down to view the majority of your content. When it comes to images, use closely cropped images to give a better focus on detail, and avoid fixed-size items that may not fit on mobile screens.

On the face of it, these changes may sound scary, but there’s no need to fear them as they are beneficial to both businesses and users. Brands should be embracing these changes to get the most out of it. Optimising your website for mobile benefits your brand and consumers and goes a long way in gaining conversions and generating more revenue for your business.

Want to assess how mobile-friendly your website is at the moment? Take our Mobile Fit Healthcheck to see how ready your website is for the mobile marketplace and be sure to make use of Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, a tool to analyse whether your website has a mobile-friendly design.