Google's recent announcement about starting to use Mobile Optimisation as a ranking factor in their search algorithm from April 21st has got a lot of people worried. Some unscrupulous web design agencies are also contacting companies saying that April 21st is some kind of deadline where non-mobile-friendly sites will be penalised or rejected altogether.
So what's the truth? Should you be worried?
Well, the real truth of the matter is that we just don't know. Google haven't given any indication of just how important this new ranking factor is going to be.
But we can make some educated guesses.
Google's job is to provide the best search results for their visitors. They've now decided that actually, if you're using a mobile phone, the information on a mobile-friendly site is better than the same information on a non-mobile-friendly site.
It seems unlikely that they will want to rank inferior information above superior information just because it is mobile optimised. From this, I think we can assume that it is actually going to be quite a weak ranking signal. Basically, there will be many other things that will be much more important in ranking your website.
The important thing to realise is that this is only going to affect the mobile search results, not the normal "desktop" search results. If you are doing a Google search from your desktop or laptop, it should have no effect. After all, if you're not using a mobile phone, why would you care if a site was mobile-optimised?
There is a lot of scaremongering at the moment with companies trying to sell mobile optimisation services on the back of this announcement.
Let me make it clear, no websites are going to be rejected from Google for not being mobile optimised.
You may see some slight changes to your rankings when searching using mobile phones. That is all.
So, the big question. Should you invest in mobile optimisation because of this?
Well, if you have an intensive SEO campaign (the sort where you're spending several hundreds, if not, thousands of pounds per month), then it should definitely be a consideration. In fact, most of us had assumed that it was a ranking factor anyway even before this announcement. So, if you have a proper SEO campaign, you probably already have a mobile optimised website.
Also, you need to make a decision based on how many mobile visitors you receive anyway. If your Google Analytics shows that very few of your visitors are using mobile devices, is it worth it? If a lot of your visitors already use mobile phones, then yes, you probably should invest in mobile optimisation. But you should be doing that even without this announcement from Google!
Because there are still so many unknowns in this announcement, our general advice is to use your Google Analytics data to see your current level of mobile visitors. Then, a couple of weeks after April 21st, see how much it has changed. If there is no noticeable change, then you're probably fine. But just keep an eye on it, these things have a habit of changing.
If there is a noticeable drop in your mobile visitors, then you should make a decision about whether it is worth the investment.
If you decide that it is worth the investment, then please don't hesitate to contact us, it is one of the many services that we offer.
OpenGlobal E-commerce believes in giving good, honest advice, not a hard sell. If you would like to speak to a company that doesn't believe in scaremongering, call us now on 0845 269 9624.