Over the years, many of us Search Engine Marketers have developed the skill to read between Google’s lines. Like politicians, it’s often very difficult to get a straight answer, to a seemingly straight forward question.
Google have been pushing the notion lately that making mobile websites as user friendly as possible is key. They even went as far to say “Because at Google we are aiming to provide a great user experience on any device, we’re making a big push to ensure the search results we deliver reflect this principle. We want users to be able to enjoy the web wherever they are.” It doesn’t really get any clearer than that… coming from Google, anyway.
So what does Google currently see?
Google has developed tech that allows them to see a mobile site just as we, the user would. This goes beyond them just seeing there is text on the screen. This tech allows Google to understand the look and feel of a site. They know if you have to zoom, if the text is too small, or your buttons aren’t big enough to click. If it thinks you’re site contains the above, you could be slipping down those mobile SERPs!
Now let’s be clear, this isn’t a set in stone clear as day, dead cert ranking factor yet, but getting your site in order before it becomes just that will stand you in very good stead. Google currently penalise sites that have faulty redirects to mobile sites and those sites that only display on desktop. To us this looks like the start of many mobile changes to come, along with the following statement from Google’s Kato and Far, it’s pretty clear it’s coming soon.
“To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.”
When Google does good!
It’s often the case when Google announces an event or an update, we marketers have to stop, take stock of our campaigns and really work to keep the client happy. This however is different. This is pure unadulterated good news. Having a correctly optimised and well planned mobile enabled website is great. Not only is it great for rankings (well it’s likely to be soon), but is also great for the users overall experience. Users are spending more and more time and more and more money online these days, and in order to be cashing in on these users, a well designed mobile site is key.
So how is Google helping?
There are many tips, tricks and tools on the web to help make your site more mobile user friendly, and Google have started to help us from the inside too. With the help of the new Mobile Usability Report in Webmaster tools, site owners can now track and monitor and mobile usability issues a site may have. They address the things mentioned above, such as font sizes, flash errors and link and button issues.
It’s a handy little tool, and getting any errors rectified will set you in the right direction for mobile SERP domination!