Google to drop non-mobile websites?

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Google SERPS for mobile sites

An article in today’s New Zealand Herald (20th April 2015) has a rather sensationalist headline; “Business warning as Google mobile deadline looms”.

In the article, it is correctly claimed that Google will be implementing new search algorithms to favour mobile friendly website design.  However, the NZH article also seems to suggest rather controversially that “those that did not meet the requirements risked being cut from Google searches.”

Now obviously if your website is already mobile friendly, you’ve nothing to worry about (although a quick check-up might be a good idea).  But if your site is not currently optimised for mobile usage, is this an immediate, major concern?  Let’s take a look at what Google has actually said, in their own words;

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

So, Google does not actually mention anywhere that non-mobile sites will actually be dropped or “cut” from search results – more that mobile optimised sites will start to receive a prioritised “weighting” factor.  So what will be the likely impact of this change?

The short answer is, if your website isn’t optimised for mobile usage, your search engine ranking will gradually fall away, perhaps replaced by your competitors as other more mobile-friendly websites receive better ranking results.  Will this happen over-night? That’s impossible to predict!  Your website ranking is affected by many factors, including how many competitors target similar search terms and content, the number of legitimate backlinks to your site, the amount of fresh content that appears on your site and others.

What does this mean for you?

If your website is not currently responsive to mobiles, now is a good time to begin an update process.  Getting your website mobile-optimised will depend on the current design, the code used, the platform it runs on and a few other important things, including your design preferences.

Whilst there are third party “apps” out there that claim to provide a mobilised version of your site, it’s never really a good idea to use them because they don’t actually modify the raw code, they simply “echo it” into a mobile format that attempts to over-ride your original code.

In addition, such third-party apps often charge for this service or provide ads on your site!  In other words, third party apps are simply plastering over the cracks, rather than tackling the heart of the issue.

Therefore, we recommend that you consult your website designer to have them implement the necessary changes.  At Purple Dog, we have extensive experience in mobile optimisation and would be happy to offer you a free quote.  Just get in touch to find out more.