September 2020 – Mobile Friendly Website Cut-Off Date

September 2020 – Mobile Friendly Website Cut-Off Date

It’s news to no one: the world, and the world wide web, is mobile. More of us than ever have global information at our fingertips and in our back pockets in the form of smartphones and internet-connected tablets. It should be a given that websites are enabled to operate on mobile devices and smaller screens seamlessly – yet there are still businesses out there without having optimised their web content to a mobile friendly website. Their days however, are numbered … courtesy of Google.

Google have announced that from September 2020, they will start moving to mobile-first indexing for all websites that appear in their search results. They estimate that 70% of the websites in Google listings are already mobile friendly and won’t be negatively affected: but the 30% remainder will be.

What is Mobile-First Indexing?

Put simply: mobile friendly websites will be featured at the top of search results, and those that aren’t will be ranked at the bottom.

Mobile-first indexing is the practice of ranking websites in search results based on their mobile friendly features. If a website is designed to automatically format properly no matter the device size or type, and includes like-for-like content (including text, videos, images, links, titles, descriptions and meta tags), it will be ranked higher in search results than those not formatted to be accessed on different devices.

Why is Google Doing This?

More users than ever are accessing the internet through their portable devices, so optimising search results to feature more inclusive results first simply helps Google deliver a better experience to those using their site. Mobile-first indexing will provide a better customer service overall: keeping search results useful, readable and simple.

What Does Mobile-First Indexing Mean for your Website’s SERPs?

If your business website is mobile-friendly, mobile-friendly indexing will have a positive impact on your SEO (search engine optimisation). However, if your business website isn’t mobile-friendly, it will be negatively impacted and demoted down the results.

SEO is a key marketing activity for businesses to enable visibility online against their competitors, and without careful management of SEO, it can be difficult for companies to be found on the internet. If there’s any chance that your business’ website could be ranked down as a result of these changes, action should be taken immediately to avoid this.

How To Avoid Being Ranked Down on Google

First off, if you’re not sure whether or not your website is mobile friendly, check online to confirm.

If it looks as though you do need to take action to re-format your website, make it a priority amongst your internal marketing and IT objectives. Although the indexing won’t begin until September, any changes to your website should be made as early as possible.

Dependent on how your website was created and is managed on an ongoing basis, it may be that re-formatting it to include mobile optimisation is a simple task. If not, web designers will be able to make a fresh ‘copy’ of your existing site that is able to adapt to the device its being viewed from and may even be able to enhance the overall user experience of the site. This doesn’t mean creating a separate website to your existing, but rather recreating it in a better, more accessible format.

If your website does need to be re-formatted, there are mobile-friendly guidelines set by Google that lay out their requirements for an optimised mobile website. Web design professionals will be able to follow these guidelines to ensure that your new web offering fits and will be prioritised within search results.

Whilst not a standalone story in marketing terms, having a mobile-friendly website will contribute to marketing communications – individuals can be encouraged to carry out website actions ‘on the go’ or to download apps, dependent on requirements. If your business’ website has been unformatted for mobile purposes until now, subtly demonstrating to your audience that it has been revamped may be beneficial.

Will Other SEO Measures Remain Important?

Yes! While Mobile-First Indexing is part of how websites are ordered on Google search results, it’s not the be all and end all. Other factors such as domain authority, trusted links, easy-to-read and navigate pages and relevant content will all continue to play a part in search engine ranking. SEO should remain a priority for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

As SEO experts, Woya has the tools, the skills and the ability to improve your SEO rankings with our established search engine marketing techniques. We understand the art of supporting websites to rank higher in Google for keywords relevant to your business and potential client searches. Find out how your website is performing with our FREE online SEO Site Audit Report

Why Your Mobile Website Needs to be Mobile Friendly

Why Your Mobile Website Needs to be Mobile Friendly

Gone are the days where all web traffic was received as a result of a user browsing on a desktop computer. Today, mobile devices (excluding tablets) are responsible for over 58% of all internet traffic, according to Statista. It’s now very much the norm for web users to access online content on their smartphone, and for many, they don’t need a bigger device for their needs.

However, we’ve all had the experience of accessing a website from a mobile or smaller device and finding that it isn’t mobile friendly, so doesn’t display or load properly. It’s frustrating, and in most cases, a user will just exit the site and  find an alternative site to meet their needs.

This is why being mobile friendly is critical to a business’ success – because if it’s not managed properly, 58% of the audience online will head off to their competitors.

Traffic Levels from Mobile Devices

There are more than 5 billion internet users around the world, which equates to over 63% of the entire global population. Of this, some 4.7 billion (59% of the population) are social media users.

The fast adoption of mobile devices and smartphones globally has transformed the public’s internet browsing habits. Traffic from mobile devices (excluding tablets) has accounted for 50% of overall traffic since 2017 but has surpassed that figure consistently since 2020 – and looks set only to rise further.

Google and Ipsos found in a 2019 survey that 50% of smartphone users admitted they were more likely to use a company or brand’s mobile friendly website to shop from than an app, because they felt downloading one was an additional step they didn’t need or want to take. That said, web traffic can come direct or through an app – depending on what’s suited best to the business. According to Top Design Firms, 32% of small businesses already have a brand-specific mobile app developed and 42% plan to build one in the future.

The evidence is clear: businesses need to at least have a mobile responsive website in order to create a fantastic UX and encourage conversions.

Mobile Responsiveness

A website built with mobile friendly design will detect the device data of a user when they visit and present a format that fits the screen size, loads correctly and has the relevant security protocol in place. You’ll likely have seen a mobile friendly website in action – noticing that the photos and content are formatted in a more streamline manner when you visit the site on a mobile device compared to on a laptop or desktop PC.

When websites were first being created as a digital marketing tool, they were all built with a set screen width; to cater for visits from a desktop computer. However, now, there are generally four screen sizes focused on with mobile friendly design: desktop monitors (as before, although sometimes bigger), smaller desktop monitors (ie. laptop screens), tablets (ie. iPads) and mobile phones (ie. iPhones).

Most recent responsive design practices allow for almost all of the page elements to be flexible – so they shift to fit but also so that unnecessary images or elements are hidden. Overall, this provides a better UX (User Experience) and allows for the optimisation of conversions or other call to actions on-site from users.

Behind-the-scenes on the site, the same HTML code is sent to all devices and then additional CSS code alters the page rendering to fit the device from which its being visited.

SEO Impact of Mobile Responsiveness

When businesses think of SEO, there tends to be a natural focus on keyword usage; and while this is an important part of digital marketing, it is no longer the ‘be all and end all’. Instead, Google’s most recent algorithm updates have drawn away focus from curated content creation and instead focus on UX (User Experience). This means that factors in a website’s usability are now key to its organic search ranking.

Google’s algorithm automatically detects the HTML with interchangeable CSS code that indicates mobile responsiveness and favours such websites in its SEO rankings. Having a mobile friendly website can also help Google crawl your site quicker, as a user agent only needs to crawl it once rather than several times to retrieve all different versions of the content.

This allows for enhanced crawling efficiency to allow for faster and more regular fresh indexing. Several on-page factors linked to mobile responsiveness also contribute toward a website’s SEO; including loading time and site security certificates.

It is now near impossible to reach a high-ranking position on Google without having a mobile responsive website and so it’s imperative that businesses invest in a thorough all-round SEO strategy in order to cover off all bases to give the highest possible chance of ranking on page one.

Where there are two websites with similar content in the same niche, Google will always rank one that is mobile friendly and loads quickly above one that does not.

How To Make A Start On Mobile Responsive Web Design

A common pitfall that businesses fall into is buying a web design package that’s one-size-fits-all and doesn’t necessarily work to the organisation’s idiosyncrasies. It is critical that businesses select web design that works best for them and their audience, in order to best present the content and layout that’s most likely to encourage conversion.

Woya Digital includes mobile friendly and bespoke creative design as standard, alongside speedy hosting for the quickest possible loading times. We understand the need to be up, running and optimised fast, so our expert team can turn around an initial design for you in just a few days. Get in touch to talk through our options and make your brand stand out online!