Over the last few months, Google has been putting a lot of work into mobile friendliness. There has been a lot of speculation amongst webmasters about how the changes will impact the wider search results. It’s clear that mobile friendliness will be a factor – but exactly how important will it be? In December, Google confirmed that it would soon be essential to have a mobile-friendly website. Since then, they have posted a Webmaster Tools blog that elaborates on exactly how important a mobile-friendly website will be. They explain that as of April 21st, mobile-friendliness will become an important ranking signal. They note that the change will affect mobile searches in all languages, across the world – and that it will have a significant impact on the SERPs. Google Wants You to Know the Mobile Rules It is rare for Google to make an announcement that includes words like “significant impact”, and even more unusual for them to provide specific dates like this. So, why have they done so this time? Well, one explanation would be that they want to give webmasters a chance to adapt their sites, and make them more mobile friendly. Google has been pushing webmasters to consider mobile friendliness for a long time, and they have offered a huge amount of assistance for webmasters to do just that – including providing mobile usability reporting tools and testing tools, so that webmasters can identify problems and fix them. Webmasters have had a lot of warning that mobiles are becoming increasingly important, but they have been slow to respond.
Gaining an Advantage with Mobile Friendly Website Design
To date, having a site that is mobile friendly has proven to be a competitive advantage for webmasters because it helps to reduce bounce rates and improve the retention of tablet and mobile users. As of April 21st, it will no longer be simply an advantage to have a mobile-friendly site, it will be a necessity.
Responsive Themes for Mobile Friendliness
The good news is that for most webmasters – at least those who use websites that are powered by popular content management systems, mobile friendliness is fairly easy to achieve. WordPress, Joomla and OSCommerce, for example, all have freely available mobile-friendly themes. A good SEO company can customize those themes to suit your business, and help you to ensure that your website’s layout and performance fits Google’s guidelines.