Is your website mobile friendly? If the answer is no, from Tuesday 21st April, you will probably notice a significant drop in traffic to your website, as explained in The following statement from the official Google Webmaster Central Blog
“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 optimised for their devices.”
This statement outlines changes which, while primarily benefiting users, will also severely dent the SEO efforts of a website not currently optimized for mobile devices.
Use of mobile devices to access the internet has increased by 67% worldwide in the past year, with the amount of people using their mobile to access the web growing rapidly from 17.1% to 28.5% according to StatCounter, and such figures are only likely to increase. Aware of the rise in mobile usage for their services, Google are making changes to improve the search engine experience for their mobile users.
How can you maintain your competitive advantage?
Search engine optimisation – designing your website in a certain manner to obtain high ranking placement in search results – is vital for any business with an online presence (which is practically every business), potentially supplying a distinct competitive advantage to a business ranked above its competitors.
The competitive advantage that is gained from web rankings looks set to significantly change on April 21st when Google will begin ranking mobile-friendly websites higher in their search results in a change which has been designed to better serve their users.
Luckily for businesses, the potential impact of the changes remain within your control. If mobile optimisation is put into place by April 21st you can reap the benefits, however those that do not make the changes in time are very likely to see an enormous decrease in traffic to the website – a great deal of mobile friendly websites, including competitors will now outrank it, ultimately this results in less potential customers that are visiting the page.
Alike to many forms of competitive advantage, it is there to be taken for those that want it. Those that have made the transition to mobile optimisation by April 21st will be given an advantage over those that are lagging behind, providing a higher search engine ranking and increased user experience.
If you are uncertain whether your website has been optimised for mobile users, Google provides a tool to test mobile optimisation which can be found at https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/