Hello again. It’s been a quiet month here on the blog, as we’ve become busy with helping existing customers and new ones make their sites mobile-responsive. The reason? Well if you missed it, Google announced that from the 21st April 2015, mobile-friendly sites will start being prioritised in mobile search results. That means, if your website is not yet mobile-friendly, you can expect to see a drop in your rankings when people search for your products or services using their smartphones. In other words – you are less visible on mobile to your potential customers.
The first thing to understand is that, according to Google, mobile search and desktop search use different formulas to come up with their results. Google have stated that this change affects only mobile search – not all search. However, here at FutureLab we believe that this is only the start of prioritising mobile-friendly websites. After all, this technology was first demonstrated back in 2004, and from 2010 the term ‘responsive web design’ was in use. Businesses who have chosen to ignore the growing (in fact, the enormous) smartphone and tablet market and have not catered to this potential audience are now well behind the curve.
Since some media and technology circles have been causing a frenzy lately – some dubbing the update ‘Mobilegeddon’ – it’s worth remembering that Google have been warning of this update since February, leaving enough time for motivated website owners to implement mobile-friendly changes or get in touch with web developers who can do it for them. It’s also worth remembering all the other factors that affect website ranking in all search engine results – things like relevancy, user experience, site speed, high-quality content, and more. The 21st April update is aimed at providing a higher user experience on mobile, by boosting relevant results that are also mobile-friendly.
We’ve been reaching out to our clients this month and explaining what the update might mean for them. Newer clients are all mobile-friendly anyway, so nothing to worry about there. Others have chosen to make their websites mobile-friendly in response, while a few aren’t fussed about making any changes yet.
Web technology is frequently changing – aside from improvements and updates in graphic design and coding, web technology goes through fashions just like any other industry. Currently, modern websites favour clean lines, minimal design with plenty of white space, plus a good helping of interactive design. On the flip side, you can often spot the tell-tale indications of an outdated website – such as overcrowding on the page, lack of any animated or interactive elements, tacky fonts and colour schemes, and so on.
In reality, website owners will always have a decision to make about the best time to update a website that is starting to show its age. However, with mobile-responsiveness now handed down from Google as a priority, perhaps 2015 will be the year of change for many professional websites.