In 2012, Google was one of the first major companies to promote the benefits of responsive website design. At the same time, they warned webmasters that they would be looking at the mobile-readiness of a website as part of their ranking algorithm. Then… silence… until now.
It took them two and a half years, but they’ve finally made good on their promise to start dinging websites that aren’t mobile friendly. The sent out warning letters last month to many webmasters who had mobile-unfriendly websites. Then, they started hitting those websites with lower rankings. Many of them disappeared from search altogether.
This isn’t the end of it. In fact, it’s just the beginning. Google’s goal of making all of their search results completely accessible from any device is bringing an end to “mobile sites” that do not present the same basic information as their desktop counterparts. Many dealers have this right now where they have a mobile version and a desktop version of their website. It’s not that Google is against these. They simply want one-to-one consistency. If a page appears on desktop, they want the same page appearing when someone clicks through from a mobile device. With many dealer websites, there are tons of pages that have no mobile version. This leads to a redirect (usually to the homepage) and this is exactly what Google does not want.
In the future, we expect to see further actions taken to unify the search results. That’s not to say that they want mobile search and desktop search to yield the same results, but they do want people clicking on links to see the same basic content on a smartphone that they would see on a desktop. If anything, they would want the mobile experience to be enhanced over the desktop to take full advantage of touchscreens and finger scrolling.
The reason that we were one of the first to properly engage in responsive website design is because we saw the writing on the wall well before Google started shifting rankings on mobile. The writing that we saw isn’t done. This first step is a warning shot more. “Get mobile or get out” – that’s the message they’re sending. With so many people doing the majority of their searching, shopping, and surfing on mobile devices, it’s important for Google to stay ahead of the trends.
It should be important to you as well.
I’ve written in the past about responsive website design and mobile marketing, but if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out or leave a comment below. I’ll be checking every day to answer any questions you have.
– Paul Accinno
President / CEO