Google this week sent out warnings via webmaster tools to a significant number of users about the mobile usability of their website. The errors stated that “100% (of your pages) have critical mobile usability errors” and that these pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google which, as a result, will lead to them being “displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users”.
What this yet means is unclear, but it seems like Google is shifting towards almost having a search engine results page specifically for mobile users, one that potentially could be of stark contrast to one presented to desktop users, depending on the industry of course.
From Google’s point of view this makes a lot of sense. Estimates this month suggested they were serving over one trillion search results each year, and we’re approaching the mark where mobile searches could overtake desktop searches – in fact, it’s almost inevitable it will happen at some stage, if it hasn’t already. It’s therefore in Google’s interest to be able to serve their users with the best possible search results and, if we’re talking of mobile users, this would be to perhaps only serve them with mobile friendly results.
When you talk about SEO, we’re often talking about minor changes, even algorithmn changes generally only effect a tiny percentage of queries. But what we’re now talking about is something that could potentially impact on half of all queries, creating a dichotomy between mobile and desktop search results.
This is a potentially huge shifting SEO moment for some industries. Sure, many sites have already got their website mobile ready – some will have for years, but we’re talking about large industries. Get down to a lower level and the tidal waves becomes perhaps a soft stream. Could you take a leap over your rival businesses simply by getting to the table first with a mobile friendly site design? Maybe.
It really depends on how much you want it. Sites can be converted to be somewhat mobile friendly quite easily and cheaply, but if we’re talking about potentially 50 percent of the market do you want to give them a stripped back mobile friendly site? Doing it right usually means going for a responsive design, one that is essentially made up of the same elements that assemble themselves differently depending on the size of the screen. Find out more about our web design services here.