Have you ever visited a website on your mobile phone and found it impossible to use? Was the text too small? Could you use it at all? This happens to me all the time. I find it increasingly frustrating when companies produce websites which don’t work properly on my phone.
If, like me, you do most of your browsing on your mobile phone, you’re not alone. In the UK alone 57% of the population use their mobile phones to access the internet and the smartphone has already over taken the desktop PC as the primary means of accessing the internet. This makes perfect sense to me. My smartphone is with me all the time whether I’m out and about or watching TV. I always reach for my smartphone to check that product out or look something up. I hardly ever use my laptop for casual browsing.
Google knows this, probably better than anyone else, and they are changing the way their search engine works because of it. Google’s search engine is driven by ‘bots’ which are very clever algorithms designed to trawl the internet and index it in a meaningful way. So when you search for ‘Italian Restaurants’ you get the nearest Italian Restaurants first. The current Bot is called, believe it or not, ‘Pigeon’ and is just barely four months old. From 21st April Google will be updating this algorithm to place a significant bias towards mobile friendly websites. The effect this will have is that if your customers are searching for a product or service that you provide, you will fall down the rankings if you don’t pass Google’s test for mobile friendliness. This test is available to everyone online here and is a clever set of rules that determine if your website has been designed with the mobile user in mind. If you pass, you get a useful ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag in Google’s search results and you will be ranked higher than your competitors’ non-mobile-friendly website. As you can tell, this is a serious problem if you don’t pass. It could be the difference between someone discovering your business or not. Making your website mobile friendly is no small task but it will ensure that your website is modern, relevant and ready for the future. It is also a great opportunity to re-visit and refresh your website and really make it work for your target audience, on their PC, tablet and mobile.