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Whether you’re ready or not, Google is significantly changing the way you search.

If you have a website, pay attention: Google is shifting its algorithm, or search formula, to separate mobile from desktop searches. Because the number of searches on a mobile device have surpassed desktop searches, Google is actually prioritizing mobile searches. It will update mobile search results more than it will update desktop results. This means that your website may rank on page one in a desktop search, but without a friendly mobile experience, you may rank on page five on a mobile search.

Google’s algorithm craves new content, and this change will push website owners to produce fresher mobile content, making it a win-win for everyone.

What does this mean for you?

Without a responsive website, you will most definitely fall behind in Google’s search results. A responsive website is one that reformats as it scales down in size to fit different devices (desktop, tablets and mobile devices). Google is currently punishing websites that aren’t mobile-responsive by pushing them down in search rankings.

While Google’s separate mobile algorithm isn’t set to roll out until March, we want to make sure you’re ahead of the game. If you haven’t already, it’s more important now than ever before to focus on improving your mobile experience. Obviously, the first step is to get a responsive website, and we want to help you with a few tips that are crucial to mobile experience:

  • Navigation is everything. Mobile users need to be able to get the information they need – and fast. Make sure your menu is easy to find, and consider making links within your pages into buttons. This will allow important links to be clicked more easily.
  • Poor load times WILL hurt you. It is likely that users will leave your website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Make sure your media, content, and any special components of your website are optimized for mobile devices. Google’s PageSpeed Insights will take your website’s URL and give it a grade based on load performance, along with suggestions on how to improve on both desktop and mobile platforms.
  • Design should be clean and content should be to the point. Mobile users are likely searching for quick information, so you don’t want to distract them with busy design. This also means you don’t need to go overboard when writing your website content.  Users are looking for the important stuff, so make sure to focus on what they want to know and leave the rest out.

If you’ve already used SEO techniques focused on the desktop versions of your website, make sure those carry over to your mobile website. Sometimes people may choose to trim off content when scaling down to a mobile view in order to simplify pages and optimize load times. With this update, it is ideal to streamline and keep all content consistent when switching between view ports. Also, make sure any functionality or extra tools you’ve implemented on your website are mobile-friendly in order to make sure your Google search ranking doesn’t suffer.

Those who will benefit most from this update are those who have responsive websites. They provide the best user experience possible and a seamless transition when viewing between devices. Consider upgrading to a responsive website as soon as possible to avoid any search penalties with Google’s update!

Jessica May

About the Author

Jessica May
Jessica is a former Element 74 Project Manager and contributing author for the Element 74 blog.

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