Google is sending letters to webmasters who manage non-mobile-friendly websites warning them that their search rankings are about to be demoted.
The search engine giant has informed thousands of Google Webmaster Tools account holders that, if they continue to manage websites that fail to offer a user-friendly mobile experience, their pages will not be served to smartphone browsers.
Is your website mobile friendly? You can test your site to see if it’s mobile friendly at the end of this post.
In its letter to web developers, Google said:
Google systems have tested xxx pages of your site and found that xx% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.
Given that mobile internet use exceeded desktop use more than a year ago, Google, by punishing non-mobile-friendly search results, is simply protecting the relevance of its search property, which is its most important product.
Why is Google punishing non-mobile friendly websites? Because Google lives and dies by you selecting Google for search. If Google serves up a poor experience when you use your phone – a page that is designed for desktop that renders tiny type or forces you to scroll horizontally to experience the page – you’ll be frustrated and go to Bing or Yahoo. You might blame Google for the experience. Google wants search to be relevant and it has defined relevant as not only authoritative, but fast-loading and viewable on any device.
With devices evolving from huge widescreen desktop monitors all the way to tiny wearable screens (Pebble, Apple Watch, Google Glass…), your website needs to perform in any circumstance. In other words, it needs to “respond” to the width of the visitor’s device screen. That’s what mobile does. Here are some features of mobile friendly sites:
- content “stacks” vertically
- text size increases and flows to accommodate the narrower screen
- some content is hidden to prevent the need for excessive vertical scrolling
- site navigation menus switch from horizontal to drop-down
- phone numbers can initiate a call to the website contact number or, better yet, replaced by a “tap-to-call” button that wouldn’t make sense on a desktop monitor
Bing, Yahoo, Ask and all the other search engines out there play by the same rules, so it stands to reason that mobile-friendly will be punished by all search providers.
Check it with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Website Test.
If your site failed the test, don’t worry… it can be fixed, but it can involve a lot of work. DecemberPress specializes in converting websites to mobile-friendly.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net