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Google Mobile update is here! How will
it affect your website rankings?

Google Mobile update is here! How will it affect your website rankings?

The launch of Google’s much-discussed new mobile update has finally arrived, and it’s never been more important for your site to be user-friendly to people using these devices. In a statement issued in February, the company announced that the new update wouldn’t directly affect webpage rankings. However, they have begun to label sites as mobile-friendly in the search results, and this may therefore have an indirect effect to an unknown degree if users see the label is missing from your site. Thankfully though, Google have been kind enough to issue a solution on how to make sure yours isn’t left at the bottom of the search pages.

Test Your Site
The first step is to use the new mobile-friend test, this search assesses your page for their ‘main criteria’. They are looking to see whether you use text that is readable without the need for zooming, avoid software which is uncommon on mobile devices (such as Flash), size your content to the smaller screen, and place links far enough apart so the correct one can be easily selected. The good thing about the update is that Google assesses your site on a page-by-page basis, meaning that if you have pages that aren’t deemed mobile-friendly such as forums it will not affect your whole site’s rating. The other positive aspect is that the update will happen in ‘real time’ meaning as soon as you make the necessary changes to your site, the impact will be felt straight away, and the algorithm will recognise the change.

Avoid Common Mistakes
There are a number of common mistakes which the test will frown upon, including whether you allow access to the JavaScript. CSS and image files used your site. This can affect how the search engine’s algorithms index your content, and ultimately your ranking. The brand also takes a dim view of sites with unplayable media content, faulty redirect URL’s, slow mobile pages and irrelevant cross-links. These changes could be simple to make, or they could signal a redesign so your page is using mobile best practises. Remember though, that if you fix your mistakes and your competition doesn’t, it should be seen as an opportunity for you to capitalise on their loss.

Make it Easy
It’s important to remember that mobile users will be working from a smaller screen, and therefore your page design is even more important. Make sure it is easy for your customer to navigate and complete the most common tasks. Mobile shoppers cite ease of use as being the most important quality of a site, and the easier your page is - the longer customers are likely to spend on it. User experience is a central strategy for online businesses, and mobile is becoming an ever-increasing important aspect. One third of all web-pages viewed in the world last year were done so via a mobile-phone, and unique mobile users exceeded 50% of the world’s population. If this trend continues it’s predicted than there will be more than 200 million new mobile users within the next year. The figures speak for themselves, demonstrating the sheer importance of the mobile customer, and highlighting just how vital it could be to make your site ‘mobile-friendly’

What Next?
If you didn’t already, it’s now vital to track your mobile traffic separate to your computer traffic. You shouldn’t be thinking of your company having two websites per se, but you need to make sure that your page performs well on all devices. By tracking your traffic separately, you can see the difference that any further changes may make, and update your pages as and when it is required. Remember that a great website is never complete, and you should constantly be seeking to improve user experience.

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