Updated: Google to Start Penalizing Non-Mobile Websites

Starting April 21, 2015 many law firms saw a major change in website traffic. That's when Google started rewarding mobile-friendly websites with better rankings in search engine results. Websites that were not mobile-friendly started to show up lower in in searches made on smart phones and tablets.

In early April 2016, Google announced that it would start boosting the effects of those mobile-friendly search updates. When? "Starting in May 2016" was all the information Google would offer, along with a promise that current mobile-friendly sites would not be impacted. If your website isn't mobile-friendly, this is Google's second warning that it's time to make a change. 

Is your website mobile friendly?

"Mobile-friendly" means that your website is easy to read on a variety of devices, including tablets and smart phones. The 2015 update was so significant that Google, usually tight-lipped about their search engine ranking updates, decided to communicate details as well as the launch date well in advance. Google also confirmed that this had a greater impact on search than any of their other recent updates (Panda, Penguin, etc.)

"We're no longer in a desktop-driven world," commented Jonathan Foulds, SEO Specialist at our sister company Swarm Agency. "With 35-40% of website traffic coming from mobile devices, Google is simply rewarding sites that provide the most flexible visitor experience."

This DOES apply to you

Even if you don’t have a big internet marketing program, every day people still search for your name (or your firm’s name) on Google. It could be to research your services, to confirm your office location, or just to get your phone number. If you want your information to show up when someone searches from a smart phone, you’ll need to have a mobile-friendly website.

To help determine whether your site meets the new mobile-friendly search criteria, Google created a simple test tool. Enter your domain name, and Google will automatically analyze your site. Any site with a special mobile version or responsive design (automatically adjusts to any screen size) should be all set. Here's the link: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

If your website fails the test, it’s time to update your site (if possible) or create a new one. Don't just do it for Google. Do it for your clients and prospects. You'll make a better first impression and demonstrate how you're "responsive"  to client needs.

If you can't measure it, don't do it.SM

 

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