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Mobile Friendliness Is About To Be A New Google Ranking Signal

From 21 April, mobile friendliness will count as a ranking signal for Google. Whilst it’s been a long time coming – Google having expressed its support for mobile configured websites – the latest news means that if you have not optimised for mobile yet, or do not intend to, your website’s visibility may be about to take a hit.

Google mobile friendly sites

The tipping point where mobile has overtaken fixed internet access has long been passed and 80% of internet users own a mobile phone (source: Global web index).

So it’s hardly surprising that Google has decided that mobile optimisation is a priority. The days of putting up with websites that can’t fit comfortably into the confines of a mobile device’s screen are coming to an end. Sites that are not optimised often do not load well or fast enough which makes them very unattractive for users.

Google recently started using information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking, too. With app-indexing and checking that websites are viewable on modern mobile devices, these moves represent a significant adaption of search geared toward mobile devices.

It is also rumoured that Google has plans for working on a completely separate mobile Index.

Reasons To Be Mobile

Regardless of this, to be blunt, you would be crazy not to optimise for mobile anyway. MoPowered discovered that 30% of mobile shoppers will abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimised for mobile. Other research shows that 57% of mobile users will abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load. Finally – here’s a great reason to think mobile – 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience (Source: Latitude)

Google has stated that not having a mobile optimised website is like closing your store one day each week. If that’s not enough to scare you into action then we don’t know what is!

Don’t Panic

There are two specific actions that you may need to consider in relation to the changes aimed at mobile friendliness.

First off, if you are blocking elements like CSS and javascript your website will not pass Google’s mobile friendly test. You need to allow Googlebot to crawl both CSS and javascript to pass – that’s not something you can get around.

Secondly, Google will judge every web page individually for mobile friendliness so making some pages mobile friendly and not others is not enough if you want your website to pass the test. ALL your pages must be mobile friendly.

If you are not ready yet – don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world – it does not take a great deal of time to optimise your site. If you are a developer in need of some advice you can find some useful guidance here.

Alternatively – if you want some personal, professional help then contact the team at Varn who can optimise your website so it becomes the perfect mobile experience.