Have you noticed a dip in website traffic in the past couple of months? Google’s famed “Mobilegeddon” algorithm updates rolled out in April, penalizing static (non-mobile) websites in search results.
But the effects are still being felt. Many website owners that have not upgraded their websites to responsive design may have received this “Dear John” letter from Google recently if they are using Google Analytics to track data:
“Subject: Fix Mobile Usability Issues
We’ve found critical mobile usability issues in pages on http://leadershipexcellencenow.com/. Mobile usability errors can severely affect the user experience of your site. Pages with mobile usability issues may be ranked lower in Google search results on mobile devices.
We recommend following Google’s Mobile Usability guidelines to avoid negatively affecting your site ranking on Google Search.”
AKA, we have deemed your website not mobile-friendly for a growing number of mobile searchers, and you will penalized in search results.
With around 64.4% of all searches being performed on Google, this can greatly impact your ability to get found by potential customers in search results. (Source: comScore)
Not to be outdone, Bing, which holds about 20% of the search market share, announced on May 14th, 2015 that they would be “investigating various approaches that leverage mobile friendliness to deliver the best possible mobile search experience on Bing.”
However, while Google penalized static websites, Bing took a different approach by adjusting their ranking algorithms to reward mobile-friendly sites in search and adding a mobile-friendly tag to search results listings so mobile users know whether or not a site is mobile-friendly before they even click through (see example to the right).
Yahoo, which accounts for about 12.7% of searches, has not made any significant changes as of yet, but will most certainly follow suit in the future.
No, Google and Bing are not picking on you. What they are trying to do is improve the search experience for users. After all, Google’s internal data shows that in at least ten countries (including the US), mobile device search volume has overtaken search from computers. It only makes sense that as we change the way we search, they would modify the way they present information to cater to our needs.
As a business owner, you want to offer your current and would-be customers the best website experience possible. By making the switch to responsive website design, you can provide website visitors with an optimal viewing experience AND improve your status in search results in major search engines.
- Here are some basic requirements that Google and Bing site when considering how mobile-friendly a website is:
- Easy to navigate by touch—menu items and call-to-action buttons should be large enough to click on without inadvertently hitting other buttons
- Can be read without pinching, scrolling horizontally, or zooming—vertical scrolling only
- Compatible with mobile devices—this means no Flash
With Bing and Google accounting for more than 84% of the world’s search market share, it’s important that business owners stay on top of the ever-changing search landscape. There will undoubtedly be more changes to come in regards to the value search engines place on static websites, so now is the time to make the switch to a responsive design.
Ready to get started? We specialize in creating beautiful responsive websites in Boston and across the United States.