Back in February, Google made an announcement on its Webmaster Central Blog that said, as of 21 April, a website’s mobile-friendliness will increase as a ranking signal. It has been clear for a while that having a mobile-friendly website has been in Google’s sights. The company introduced a ‘mobile-friendly’ label in mobile search some time ago, and recently started issuing messages via Webmaster Tools about how to fix mobile usability issues:
Google’s move makes sense when you crunch the numbers, with usage of mobile devices continuing to escalate. In 2013, 64 percent of New Zealanders owned a smartphone and 26 percent a tablet. As of January 2015, 23 percent of all web searches were conducted using mobile devices.
With less than two months until Google rolls out this algorithm update, webmasters can find out how much work they have to do before the deadline by using Google’s free mobile-friendly test. This tool will tell you how mobile-friendly your website is and what fixes you need to make:
If your website requires lots of changes and you don’t have the budget or time to make them before 21 April, you can opt for a cheap off-the-shelf solution from an operator such as Duda Mobile.
It is not clear yet what the consequences of missing the deadline will be. However, it is likely to noticeably affect a website’s ranking on mobile devices. With the increased prevalence of people searching on a mobile device, this could lead to a very real impact on the number of leads or sales a website generates.
- Richard Conway is chief executive of Pure SEO