Google's Big Change

caro2 Caroline Arapoff  |  April 15, 2015

Do you need to take notice?

Unfortunately yes you do. This is a major move from Google and it’s also not how they usually play the game. In the past when they released a change to their search engine it was a very staged roll out. Not this time. This will be a global change in all languages.

What is the issue?

When a visitor searches for your website using a mobile device Google will remove (or penalise) your listing, giving preference to websites that are mobile-friendly or responsive. It makes sense if you put on Google’s hat for a minute - if they know you're on a phone they want to send you a listing that works well on a phone. Google have announced that this will come into effect as of 21 April 2015.  

Is my site mobile-friendly?

Google have provided a tool under the Webmasters Toolkit to allow us to check if your website will be approved. Please reply back to this email if you would like us to test your website against these new rules.

What if your website doesn’t pass?

We’re here to help. It’s hard for us to know exactly how much work your website will require to pass the Google test, however as a guide we can optimise a mid-sized website from 8-10 hours work.

There is a chance it will be less involved if the required changes are minimal or your website is small. There are a couple of factors that will make it more involved, including having a lot of pages or if it uses tables in the content area. A great way to bring down the cost if you have a lot of pages is to work with us to do the testing or even pick up some of the work re-formatting tables.  

But I think my site is already responsive?

If your website was built more recently in the last 3-6 months it’s highly likely that no work will be required to pass Google’s test. We have run some recently built websites through and they passed, but we have also had some fail - this is because it’s Google creating the rules, not the industry.

Google's way or the highway

Unfortunately Google are the ones writing the rules here. So what is best practice today will be quickly evolving to what Google wants. It doesn’t seem fair but they have no competition. 

What if I don’t bother?

There is a practical way to weigh up the importance of this. Just login to your Google Analytics and look at the number of visitors that are coming in on mobile. As a benchmark for some of our clients they only see 5-7% of visitors on mobile whereas others see 20-30%! Let us know if you need help working this out.