Looking good on mobile? Looking better on Google!

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It’s no surprise mobile web browsing has surpassed desktop viewing. Whether it’s because the world is moving faster forcing people to send and receive more information on the go, or maybe because technology has allowed us to do so, one thing is for certain – the mobile-first trend shows no sign of slowing.

As a modern business, it’s no longer an option to cater to the mobile user – it’s essential. It’s no longer a decision about whether the investment is worthwhile. It’s more likely that the longer you wait; the more business you are losing.

Responsive design was the buzz term of 2014, but now the need to cater for mobile has extended to every element of your website. The actual content within your site must be optimised and tested for mobile viewing – especially because now, for the first time ever, mobile-friendly websites will receive a higher search result on Google.

Google has updated their algorithm, giving priority to websites that cater to the mobile screen. This means websites and apps that are both responsive and user-friendly on the mobile will rank higher for relevant search terms over those that don’t.

Below, we have assessed some of the big changes Google will be making to their search formula and how it is likely to affect your business:

Search results will contain more mobile-friendly websites

The first of Google’s big changes is to expand their algorithm to include “mobile-friendliness as the criteria for ranking”. Google has stated that the change will be applied to searches in every language, to improve the quality of information received when searching on mobile device.

Search results will contain more relevant app content

Google will also start to index information from listed apps, only in cases when the user is signed in and has the app already installed. This change isn’t as significant as the first, but it is a great benefit for businesses that have already invested significant amounts of money into mobile app development.

How to measure whether your website is mobile-friendly

The best way to ensure your website is aligned with the set criteria Google uses to rank your site, is to use the tools they make readily available. Google’s mission is to provide users with the most relevant information they can, which is why they offer as much support to businesses of all sizes, to ensure the information contained on any website is relevant to the search terms used to find it.

For this reason, Google provide web developers of all experience levels with access to the latest tools and guides, to help optimise their website for search engines (better known as SEO). To coincide with the new algorithm update, to make mobile more influential, Google provide a tool to help you determine just how “mobile friendly” your website is too.

The simplest way to gauge whether or not your website is mobile friendly is to use their simple Mobile Friendly Test. This gives you a simple “Yes” or “No” response.

If you are looking for something a little more in-depth and would like to customise your web assets to ensure they’re optimised for mobile viewing, the best place to start with Google’s Webmaster Tools.

Webmaster Tools will allow you to perform a comprehensive mobile usability test, which will highlight all the issues that may be affecting your search engine ranking. If you are a beginner to Webmaster Tools, there are also a number of tutorials and guides available to help you get the most out of the tools available.

If you can’t make sense of it all we encourage you to give the team at Digital Thing a call. We’ll be more than happy to run a free assessment of your website to determine whether or not it’s mobile friendly, and can even make a few recommendations to help you improve your Google ranking even further.

What happens if you don’t play ball?

If you are still unconvinced that mobile development is worth the investment, then you probably need to do some research of your own (which you will probably do using Google… on your mobile phone). Of course, we believe mobile optimisation is ESSENTIAL to succeed in modern business.

Still, there are a lot of start-up businesses that do not have the money readily available to redevelop their existing web assets or optimise them for mobile viewing. This isn’t the end of the world, especially if you can determine a majority of your particular customers are still viewing your website on a desktop computer (again, Google offer a tool that shows you what devices your traffic are viewing your website on).

If your website design isn’t responsive (which means it automatically scales for any screen size) then you won’t be “penalised” by search engines – priority is just given to those that are.

So how can you make your website mobile-friendly?

The good news is that with advances in website design and development software, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to convert your website to something more responsive. Similarly, simple content management systems such as WordPress and Magento makes it easier than ever for companies to manage their own website information and optimise the elements to suit all devices.

We take the time to assess your existing assets and determine the best course of action – whether that means updating what you’ve already got to make it look even better, or alternatively start from scratch to create a custom website experience that will engage and convert real results.

The team at Digital Thing has over a decade of experience with website development and optimising content to improve search engine ranking. We will take the time to assess your existing website and create a custom digital strategy to ensure you’re well ahead of the competition. Contact us today and organise a free, no-obligation chat. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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