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The SEO Benefits of a Mobile-Friendly Website

Google will soon consider mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for search. Learn how this will affect your website.

We’re fond of mentioning that since so many people use Google to find the information they need online, any changes or updates that Google makes become big news, leading to plenty of speculation and conversation about how to make sure people can find your site online. And it looks like that’s a trend that will continue for quite some time, as Google’s latest announcement about mobile-friendly search results is the latest topic on the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) community’s tongue.

What’s New?

In recent months, Google has been indicating that they were going to increase their focus on mobile users. They sent out notifications to website owners who needed to fix mobile usability issues, they launched a mobile-friendly testing tool, and they began including mobile-friendly labels in their search results. This led many in the SEO community to speculate that Google would soon be updating its search algorithm to include mobile usability.

This was confirmed by Google on February 26, 2015; in a blog post, they stated that beginning April 21, mobile-friendliness would be a ranking signal, and that it would have a significant impact on search results, affecting mobile searches in all languages worldwide. This means that sites which are not mobile-friendly will receive a penalty in search results, and likewise, sites which are configured to provide a good experience for mobile users will rank higher.

In addition, Google has begun using App Indexing (starting immediately) to include information from Android apps in search results. This will affect mobile users using an Android phone who have an indexed app installed.

How Does This Affect Me?

As more and more people use mobile devices to access websites, making sure that they are able to use the full functionality of the website no matter what device or screen size they are using is becoming more and more important. It’s obvious that Google recognizes this, and with this update, mobile usability can now make the difference in whether people are able to find your site online.

Luckily, by waiting to implement this algorithm update until April 21, Google has given website owners a chance to address any issues and make sure they are not penalized. They’ve provided several resources to help people find any mobile usability issues their site may have, including a Mobile-Friendly Test, a Mobile Usability Report in Google Webmaster Tools, and a guide to mobile-friendly sites. With these tools, site owners can get an idea of what might need to be changed or updated in order to continue receiving the optimum search results.

Mobile Makes the Difference

At Diagram, we’ve been advocates of mobile-first and responsive web design for a long time, since these strategies ensure that a website is accessible to the widest range of users possible. It’s apparent now that Google agrees with us, and going forward, following mobile-friendly design principles will not only ensure that your site is accessible to everyone, it will also make the difference in whether people can find you in online searches.

While the tools that Google has provided can help you determine whether your site has any issues with mobile usability, you might be wondering what you need to do to resolve them and avoid incurring any SEO penalties. If so, we can help. Please contact us to speak to a Solutions Engineer, and we can work with you to address any of these issues, with the ultimate goal of building a mobile strategy that will make sure your site meets the needs of every user, no matter what device they are using. Do you have any other questions about SEO, mobile-friendliness, or responsive design? Please share them in the comments below.

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