There are 99 different ranking factors spread across multiple Google algorithms. The mobile friendliness of a site has been one of the top 5 over the last 4 years, but now, it's number #1.
This latest change in Google, called ‘Mobile First’, is the most significant change to the Google Algorithm since inception. It's going to mean the success and failure of many small businesses sites over the coming weeks and months.
Mobile First has been ‘coming’ for a while now, I’ve seen them ‘testing’ it in our tracking tools, and there has been a lot of chatter in my geeky SEO forums about how it will affect traffic to people’s websites.
So what does Mobile-First actually mean. Well, it means - how your site displays on a mobile device is now more important than how it renders on a desktop device. In other words, the quality/appearance of your website when viewed on a mobile device will now significantly affect how your site appears in Google's indexing.
Google used to crawl (aka scan) your desktop version first, scoring it on each of the 99 ranking factors, and giving it a ‘domain authority’ on that basis. Now, it crawls the mobile version first, and weights it higher than the desktop version.
How your site looks, feels, scrolls, what text it contains on Mobile, now matters more than how and works it looks on a computer screen. That is because – it cannot be disputed across any type of search category – that mobile traffic now covers the majority of traffic. Desktop now trails about 45/55.
Most small businesses I come across – their mobile layout has been their second thought. It now needs to be your primary thought, because the majority of your business is looking at your company on their phone now.
What will happen if you don’t have a mobile friendly site?
If you don’t have a mobile friendly site, or you don’t have a mobile-SEOed site – then you could see your ranks slowly slipping over time, or your whole site and all pages will go backwards. Some pages (or some machines where you have pages ranking) might leave the index, or be sucked back to page 2 and beyond. This ultimately means less calls, emails or enquiries into your business.
If you don’t have a mobile version of your site at all – then you may get dumped from the index altogether. This means that it won’t even show up in the search results, even when someone searches your name.
So what do you need to do?
Here is what I think you should do in each of these situations:
- No mobile site: Rebuild your site ASAP. Some good Website builders, including iSeekplant – build your platform in ‘responsive’ platforms – which means your site is built to scale across desktop, mobile and tablet.
- Crappy mobile site: if you have a content management system and you’re able to edit your site – then you should do that ASAP and ensure the experience on mobile is good. Mobile layouts should focus on fast traffic conversion. Rip out blocks of text – or convert them to bullets – but ensure your page titles, headings etc are optimised for the highest traffic search terms for the machines in your fleet. If you don’t have a CMS system – I recommend you rebuild your site.
- Passable mobile site: Watch and see what happens over the next couple of months. Ask iSeekplant for a free ‘SEMRUSH’ traffic score which should give you some indications of whether this mobile-first roll out has been good or bad thing. Then by Christmas you should know what to do next.
Mobile First thing’s first: Google your business and pull up your site and check the experience out. Can you see the phone number? Can you fill out a form easily? Are the page headings visible? Can you scroll and navigate?
Next things next: If you are a service provider to the plant hire or construction industry and want a rankable, mobile-first site that beats out the competition as this change is deciding who will be the winners and losers – then give us a ring at iSeekplant and we’ll get your sorted – for the best website build rates on the market.