Google downgrade your mobile unfriendly site

By Chris Dawson March 2, 2015 - 12:35 pm

Google MobileGoogle have announced that from the 21st of April they will start to expand their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. What that means for you is that if your site is not mobile friendly you could see it plummet in search rankings.

What does this mean for you? Well firstly you’re likely to get a ton of calls and emails from so called SEO agencies telling you that your site needs to be responsive and that they can redesign it for your for a stupidly small amount of money. Ignore them! If you want to update your site do your own work, go to your previous designer or choose a new design agency that you wish to work with rather than some two-bit company you’ve never heard of before the cold call.

Next decide if you really need a mobile responsive site. Are your competitors all mobile friendly in which case you’ll almost certainly need to do likewise. However realistically most businesses, especially larger businesses won’t have time to update their sites by the 21st of April.

Secondly how mobile unfriendly your site really is – for instance if you post on social media with a link directly to a product page and it’s simple to click and checkout (perhaps with PayPal), it might not matter that the rest of your site isn’t particularly mobile friendly. On the other hand if you have a home page with shed loads of links close together in a sidebar, small fonts and images with fixed dimensions which mean they won’t fit on a mobile screen then you could be in trouble.

The other thing to consider is how much of your traffic is new visits from Google? Do you drive your own traffic from marketing, emails, discount codes or is a large proportion of your traffic new visitors? If you rely on new visits from Google then it’s a more serious matter than if you simply sell on marketplaces, put a discount flyer in your shipments and that’s where your sales on your website are generated from.

Certainly you shouldn’t ignore Google’s move to expand their use of mobile-friendliness as a signal, but no one will know until the 21st of April (and probably some time after that date) exactly how much you or any other website will be affected. Other factors will still come into play such as relevance, bounce rates, click throughs and all the other factors that Google uses in ranking pages in search results. Any actions you take now will be guess work, although next time you are preparing for a new site or site redesign, mobile friendliness should be high on your agenda.

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