Posted by Roger

It goes without saying that the position your business’s web pages appear in the Google search results will affect the number of visitors your site attracts. What you may not be aware of is that Google have recently started making another change in the way that they decide the order in which to show their results for any given search phrase.

Google search results and mobile friendly websites

Whilst previously, Google ‘saw’ only the text content of websites, it can now ‘see’ how your site would appear on screens of all sizes. This means that Google can make an accurate assessment of whether your site is adapted to work well on smaller screens as well as larger ones. Based on that assessment, they are now starting to prioritise sites that work well on mobiles and de-prioritise those that don’t. So if the website for your business requires visitors using mobile devices to pan and zoom to be able to view all the content, now is the time to get to work on your site so that it adapts its layout, text size and image dimensions in ways that are suitable for all screen sizes.

This is a quote from the Google announcement dated 27 October 2014.

Disallowing crawling of Javascript or CSS files in your site’s robots.txt directly harms how well our algorithms render and index your content and can result in suboptimal rankings.

Translated, this indicates that Google needs to be able to analyse more of the code that makes up your website so that it can determine if the pages will work well on devices of all sizes.

Google logo

The reason why Google are making this change is easy to understand. Many more people are using their mobile devices to perform searches and Google does not want to present people with a set of search results that lead to pages that don’t work properly on the mobile device they are using for the search. That would be providing a poor service to those users and, increasingly, this will reflect badly on Google. I’m not suggesting that they will only display mobile friendly websites in Google search results from mobiles – they’re not at that stage yet – but mobile friendliness is becoming a factor in the ranking of sites.

If your site already works well on mobiles then you’re ahead of the game; if not, now is the time to take action. AttractMore have taken several older sites and have adapted to them for use on mobiles ensuring that the pages load quickly (another increasingly important ranking factor) and have just this morning, we have been asked to do the same for another site.

Consideration needs to be given to the design at smaller screen sizes and decisions made about how the layout should change, this is particularly important in relation to the navigation. Testing must also be planned carefully to verify that the amended site will indeed work well on all types of iPhone, iPad and Android devices using a variety of browsers. Having said that, it’s not usually a large project and the investment in creating a site that gives a good experience to all your visitors, irrespective of the device they choose to use, is well worth it in my view as it demonstrates that your organisation is forward thinking and concerned for its customers. In addition, as it will help you maintain or improve your Google positioning, you are likely to see a good return on the investment.

If you’d like to speak to us in more detail about your website and how it could be adapted to different screen sizes, please contact us – we’d be happy to help.

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