At MyAdvice, we use a variety of educational resources to keep us on the leading edge of the digital marketing industry. One of the best resources we use is Search Engine News by Planet Ocean. This expensive, well researched publication leads the industry. Today, August 1, they published a critically important article about Google’s new algorithm changes and how they will affect your website.
The short version is that Google will be penalizing websites that are not mobile responsive, and a separate mobile site will not suffice. Here at MyAdvice, every one of our customers already has a mobile responsive site. We have been ahead of this curve and preaching this for almost 2 years. If you are with us, you are prepared. If you are not with us, you should be!
Excerpted from Your Practical Guide to Mobile SEO – Part 1 by John Heard
“For all the years we’ve been doing this, organic search rankings have focused on Web sites that are optimized to be accessed by desktop and laptop PC’s and Macs. Optimization for mobile search, has been a secondary consideration. However, that focus is about to be reversed. The number of searches from mobile devices is reaching critical mass. Soon there will be more mobile searches than PC-type searches and Google is altering their search algorithms to meet the needs of this capsized reality. This means that, more sooner than later, if your Web site is not optimized for mobile site visitors it will be penalized into irrelevance.
Case in Point: On June 11th, 2013 Google announced an upcoming change to their mobile search ranking algorithms geared towards showing a preference for mobile compatible Web sites in their search results…As Google explains it: they want to assure a good user experience regardless of the platform. Regardless of what we think about the company spin, we know these changes are imminent. We expect they’ll happen before the end of this year, 2013…[M]aking your site optimized for mobile devices is a requirement you can no longer put off!
Oddly enough, Google currently ranks desktop sites higher than dedicated mobile sites even for mobile users. This is likely due to the fact that mobile only (m.domain.com) sites often lack PageRank and in many cases contain less content—both of which are important ranking factors in their own right. A good example of this is Facebook. Try a search on your phone for the keyword Facebook, you’ll likely get www.facebook.com, not m.facebook.com – Facebook’s mobile site.
Since desktop sites typically rank best overall, it’s our strong recommendation that your Web site be device independent, also know as [Mobile] Responsive. Sites that are designed to be [Mobile] Responsive are able to adapt to the user’s device using special CSS statements that adapt the site design to the users viewport size and/or device user_agent.
[Mobile] Responsive sites are also preferred by Google because they typically offer the best user experience. Not only is Google directly recommending [Mobile] Responsive Web site design, they’ve also stated openly they plan to rank desktop only sites lower in mobile search. This fact alone is good reason to adopt a [Mobile] Responsive Web site design.”