Countdown to Mobile Mayhem – What Google Policy Change Means
(Lisa Schmidt, Legal Linguist, April 21, 2015)
You’ll be seeing some changes around here in the next couple weeks. That’s because starting April 21, 2015, Google will be promoting mobile friendly websites over any others. Here’s what to expect and how to prepare.
Google’s New Policy
According to an online press release, Google will soon be changing its search algorithm to favor mobile friendly designs.
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
That means websites (like this one, at the moment) that do not work well on smartphones and tablets will fall down in the page rankings.
There are two easy ways to find out whether your website will take a hit later this month.
- Pull Out Your Smartphone. Have you ever looked at your website on your phone? If your pages don’t resize the text to make it readable, you are in trouble.
- A Handy Website. If you want an official opinion on whether your website is mobile friendly, you can go to Google’s “Mobile Friendly Test” website. Just type in your URL and the site will analyze your webpages and tell you whether or not you have anything to worry about.
You’re Affected. Now What?
Once you know whether you’re website will be affected by Google’s algorithm change, you will have a decision to make: Do you hire someone to design a new website? The answer depends on how your site is built.
If you spent the money for a fully customized, ground-up website a few years ago, you may need to start from scratch. The hard wired web development framework probably won’t be easily modified to fit Google’s new policy. The older your framework, the more likely you will need to start over.
A lot of less expensive web designs are based on templates. WordPress is one popular format that has thousands of free and low cost templates that serve as a starting point for designers. If your website is built on a template, you may be able to just switch over to a new template. You may still need a website expert to help you get all your pieces in the right place, but it will likely cost less than a full redo.
It could be expensive to bite the bullet and redo your website. But if you decide to put it off, you will soon be seeing a lot less return on your web marketing investment.
Lisa Schmidt is a ghost blogger for Legal Linguist. She helps small firms maximize their marketing dollar by providing high quality web content. If your website needs a new tone of voice, contact Legal Linguist for an appointment today.