In the world of SEO, keeping one’s finger on the pulse usually requires a lot of digging and research to find out what the next trend is; or what changes Google are making. This happens across several well regarded websites, and constantly keeping up to date with all the big players in SEO by following them on Twitter just so you can dig out that vital nugget of information in the sea of other traffic and content. So when Google actually came straight out themselves with a message to webmasters regarding changes to their mobile search capabilities and algorithms, you KNOW it’s pretty important to take notice.
What’s causing all this brouhaha (some would say imbroglio, some would say ruckus)? In layman’s terms Google are tweaking everything so that mobile friendly websites show up higher in the rankings more than ones that aren’t. Which if you think about it, is a very good idea indeed. Mobile responsiveness has been a critical feature of web design for a long time (at least it should have been) and, considering the amount of time people spend browsing the web using their phones to have a non-mobile responsive site seems a little bit silly. This is just a natural progression for Google trying to incorporate its ‘web for all’ idea that it’s always trying to plug away at. There is a firm date for this (a rare thing for Google to have), and this is 21 April.
So what to do next? Well head over to your page’s webmaster tools and make sure you’ve got no (or very little) smartphone errors coming through. Make sure you also do a fetch as Google to check the complete picture. Now we need test how mobile responsive the site actually is. How do we do that? Well Google has a mobile friendly test tool! Hooray! It’s dead easy to use, just pop in your URL and it will report back with any changes you need to make. Make sure your robots.txt isn’t blocking anything it shouldn’t be and it all should be pretty self explanatory.
When big companies make changes like this too our online experience, it is easy to jump on their back an moan about all the work we have to do to keep up with the changes. But really, this is just a feature of the way the web is heading; and Google is making sure that there aren’t many of us left behind.