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Google Ranking Change Coming April 21, 2015

Published on March 17, 2015 by Bryan Baird

Starting April 21, 2015 Google will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This will have a significant impact for websites in Google search results which rely heavily on their Google ranking for exposure.

With smartphone penetration rapidly increasing (75% in December 2014 up from 62% in December 2013), Google is taking an industry-leading step in the promotion of “mobile-friendly” websites by adding the label shown below. Google may also be adding a warning label for websites that are not mobile-friendly, however the specifics are currently being debated among internet companies. Stay tuned as we will post the warning label as soon as it becomes available.

Why does this matter for business owners?

Mobile web traffic is growing and surpassed desktop traffic for the first time in late 2014, according to a recent article from Search Engine Watch.

Research from Google drives home just how important mobile is to local businesses:

“Appearing on smartphones is critical for local businesses. 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 84% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.”

What does “mobile-friendly” mean?

According to Google, for a website to be classified as mobile-friendly, it must meet the following criteria:

  • Content resizes to fit the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, such as Flash
  • Uses text that is easy to read without zooming
  • Links are positioned far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Where can you learn more?

If your website is more than 2 years old there’s a good chance it’s not mobile friendly, but if you’re not sure checking is very easy using Google’s Web Developer Mobile Friendly test. Just email your website domain (website address) to [email protected] and we’ll run the free test and return the results to you within 24 hours. There is absolutely no cost or obligation for this service.

You may also want to consider updating your website to a responsive design that automatically detects the user’s device and optimizes the experience whether smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Kerigan Marketing will be glad to provide you with a free quote to update your existing website into a mobile-friendly, responsive design format, just like we’ve done for dozens of local businesses, in a content management system you or any host can easily update.

Mobile traffic is growing, and Google is trying to ensure it delivers the best user experience possible by calling out mobile-friendly sites in its mobile search results and alerting consumers of mobile issues.

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