Why Mobile-Friendly Websites Are Essential

April 22, 2015

Mobile schedule flat icon illustration

Reading the headlines, it sounds as if something terrible is taking place on the internet with words such as ‘mobilegeddon’ being thrown around and business owners tearing their hair out in anticipation of a sudden vanishing of customers. In reality, the event is a new algorithm from Google that changes how websites appear when searched from a mobile or tablet – so is it really a cataclysmic event? And what exactly does mobile-friendly mean for small business owners?

Google Basics

We all know Google and their strange and convoluted rules about how businesses appear on their search results – there are lots of factors that come into the equation that seem to change regularly. Even people who think of themselves as SEO experts (that’s Search Engine Optimisation for the rest of us) can’t guarantee first-page Google results every time. We all aim to have great, user-friendly websites with plenty of quality content to engage our customers.

Before Google’s latest search update, when you searched from a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, you got the same results. And those results could lead you to a website that was not optimised for that smartphone, meaning half the features didn’t work, the fonts were too small or it kept trying to use pop-ups, which as we all know are particularly annoying when using a mobile.

Now, Google have changed how their search results rate websites when someone searches from a smartphone. This is mainly because in the last year, for the first time ever, more people accessed the internet via a smartphone than they did through a PC or a laptop. So no longer is the smartphone world a secondary add-on to the desktop internet, it is now as important if not slightly more so.

The Bottom Line

How the new algorithm works is based on whether Google grades a website as being mobile friendly or not. If a website is mobile-friendly, it will appear in the search results when a smartphone is used but if it is graded as not mobile-friendly it simply won’t appear. That means that a website placing on the first page on a PC that hasn’t been adapted to mobile friendly status will be invisible when a user searches for your business on a smartphone.

But this doesn’t need to be cause for panic – in fact, many of the big names in website creation have been ready for the move and have optimised versions of their sites for the mobile. At Sitely, for example, all our responsive websites are mobile-friendly as standard helping our clients reach a bigger audience than ever, as well as getting one up on the competition.

If you aren’t sure if your site is mobile friendly, or what you need to do to achieve this new standard, Google have even launched a free tool that will tell you what needs doing to allow the smartphone world to once more find your website and business.

So while the ‘mobilegeddon’ isn’t as traumatic as it may sound, it isn’t something that can be ignored either – unless you are happy to vanish for the millions of smartphone searchers out there, of course!

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