The Mobilegeddon may have been averted but only for now
Right, so the Mobilegeddon did not really happen! There has been little perceivable change in the ranking of pages as of now. However, it does not mean that the threat is over. On the contrary, it has only been delayed and is set to occur with renewed frenzy. It is worthwhile to note here that even some of the biggest names are yet to become mobile-friendly. According to an independent test conducted by TFM&A Insights, 10% of the world’s most visited websites including Wikipedia, BBC and Reddit failed to meet up to Google’s criteria. A further 44% of the Fortune 500 firms also remain stuck in the same boat with these companies.
(Source:http://tfmainsights.com/wikipedia-bbc-reddit-among-worlds-highest-traffic-sites-fail-mobilegeddon/?cid=newsletter; Culled on: 01/06/15)
This, interestingly, could be the reason why the effects of Google’s new policy are not creating the huge ripples that were anticipated. Almost nobody being prepared to meet the set criteria, the rankings have remained by and large the same. However, that does not leave any room for complacency. The biggies are soon to get themselves in line with the changes and that will alter the scenario in its entirety. Anyone taking it easy till then will fall by the wayside. About 60% of online traffic now comes from mobile and Google wants users to have a good experience whenever they click on a mobile link.
Now that we have established that it is only a matter of time before you have to have a mobile-friendly website, what is it that you can do? The first thing is to understand that Google is not really bringing about a huge strategic exercise just to catch you unprepared and push your ranking down. On the contrary, this is an exercise aimed at making websites the world over more user-friendly. In fact, this should be taken as an opportunity to move higher in page ranking while providing for better customer experience.
Next, let us get us get an absolute clarity on the facts. On April 21, 2015; Google launched one of the biggest algorithm changes in its history. The updated algorithm is actively seeking out websites that aren’t mobile ready. SearchEngineWatch warns that should your website not come out easily on mobile devices, its search engine optimization (SEO) ranking may plummet. The whole phenomenon which might lead to a world-wide demise of the nature of websites as we currently know them to be has been dubbed “Mobilegeddon” by SearchEngineLand.
If you are lucky, you may not have to do anything; your site might already be optimized. Check out at this webpage. There is also no reason to panic if it is not. Look at your analytics – if the majority of your searches are via desktop you are likely to have a bit more time than most. Moreover, bear in mind that Google’s algorithm update is only applicable to mobile Google searches. This means no searches from desktops will be affected.
You then have three ways to “pass” the Google test: offer a responsive design (when your website changes as the window size changes – Google’s recommended option); have a dynamic served website (different devices get served a different version); or create an alternate mobile page (where you send users to a separate url if they are on a mobile). It’s a good idea to read Google’s own Mobile SEO handbook too, for simple pointers and easy-to-implement advice.
Keeping the above facts in mind, here is the short answer to the question of what practical steps need to be taken to ensure proper search engine ranking in the mobile-friendly world:
- Do not use heavy image files (these take too long to download)
- Double check all plug-ins
- Make tapping easy
- Make the user experience smooth
- Build your website with responsive design
- There is minimal horizontal scrolling
The points above could also serve as a checklist of things that need to be done. On the same note, read on for the long answer to the question of what needs to be done at the practical level.
It’s important to catch the eyes, but even more to hold the gaze. As such, the stress should be on user experience even if it comes at the cost of breathtaking design. To elucidate, it is not enough to check out if the web pages fit handheld devices as good as they fit desktop browsers even though that is the starting point. The point is to make them quite as navigable, as easily searchable and as to-the-point at the same time.
Do not overestimate the dexterity of human fingers. Allow enough space for the fingers to manoeuvre. It is not easy to navigate a website that has links too close for comfort or icons overlapping each other. The pinch, double tap and scroll functions need to be looked into with great care.
Everything should be easy to find. That would mean easy navigation along with a prominent search box with uncluttered typing. It must be easy to fill up forms or type in the search boxes. Make it a point to be generous with the spaces provided both inside and outside the areas to be typed in.
Do not clutter your links together. Allow some breathing space. This is going to be a key point of lookout for the new algorithm. Once again, this is an issue of usability that Google takes into account.
Last but definitely not the least; remember that your website needs to be mobile-friendly anyway. With the surge in mobile devices the Internet is moving steadily towards a scenario where most of the browsing from the point-of-view of the consumer would be performed on smart devices. Now is therefore a very good time to ensure that your website measures up to the criteria for being mobile-friendly.