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Google to penalise non mobile websites

By March 16, 2015 One Comment

All the warning signs have been circulating for long enough and now it is official. Make your website mobile friendly.

If you don’t Google have now confirmed that those websites that are not mobile compatible WILL see ‘significant impact in search results’.

Significant impact eh?

That’s dressing it up nicely but Google will penalise your search rankings if your website is not responsive. All that effort and time you have spent increasing the search engine results will begin to fade away – and worryingly for many this will happen on April 21st 2015.

Additionally this is being rolled out worldwide, on the same day, in all languages. This is not typical Google behaviour. Normally updates to their algorithm occur in stages and the effects are seen as it crosses the globe over time. Not this one. Overnight you could potentially see your rankings drop if you do not have a responsive website design.

This is a huge update from Google.

This update affects all search results on mobile devices – You may not think that mobile phone users make up much of your audience, but I can bet you have underestimated how many are on tablets.

It’s common behaviour now to sit on the sofa of an evening browsing the internet, and tablet usage is beginning to far outweigh desktop usage. By rewarding websites that embrace mobile usage, Google is ensuring a better experience for all of us.

How do I know if my site is at risk?

A simple check on this Googles own Mobile Friendly Test will determine if your site is mobile friendly.

If your website does not pass this test you need to update your site before April 21st. This has huge implications for many website and business owners, especially those that have used ‘free’ website builders, have static sites, eCommerce websites and have functioned perfectly well up until this point.

The warnings are there.

Will eCommerce be the largest victim of this update?

The problem for many eCommerce website owners is sitting on the sofa is one of the most common browsing times for online shopping. eCommerce websites are often large as well, which may put off those website owners that making a change is a huge job. It needn’t be, especially if your website is already made in WordPress.

Look around at family and friends and see how often they quickly dart onto their iPad or phone to check the availability of a product online. This is where it seems many business owners will be found making changes quickly.

What is the worst case scenario?

The worst case scenario is website traffic and rankings from mobile devices disappear overnight. In reality I’d guess that they will slowly decrease to a point where it becomes clear that you need to embrace mobile internet viewers and take the necessary steps to regain lost ground.

The only way to be sure is to check your Google Analytics and see exactly how many viewers are browsing your website through mobile and tablets.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Sue B. says:

    Hey Jim,
    Thanks so much for this blog entry. I hadn’t really heard anything about Google “penalizing non-responsive websites” until now. And it looks like I’m a little behind the eight ball on this one. My own website is non-responsive and so I have switched over to Square Space and am working on my new site as I write this. I have made sure to bookmark your website as I think that you do great work! And may I add, your story is very inspiring… starting from nothing to this awesome company. Hats off to you!

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