Is your website mobile ready for Google update

Is your website mobile ready for Google update

Rumors are flying about Google’s upcoming mobile-friendly update, and bits of reliable information have come from several sources. Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard Google’s recent announcement regarding mobile-friendly websites:
“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.”

What changes is Google making to its algorithm on April 21st?

Recently, Google has been rolling out lots of changes to apps, Google Play, the presentation of mobile SERPS, and some of the more advanced development guidelines that impact mobile; we believe that many of these are in preparation for the 21st update. Google has been downplaying some of these changes, and we have no exclusive advanced knowledge about anything that Google will announce on 21st, but based on what we have seen and heard recently, here is our best guess of what is coming in the future (on 21st or soon thereafter).

We believe Google will launch a new mobile crawler (probably with an Android user-agent) that can do a better job of crawling single-page web apps, Android apps, and maybe even Deep Links in iOS apps. The new Mobile-Friendly guidelines that launched last month focus on exposing JS and CSS because Android apps are built in Java, and single-page web apps rely heavily on JavaScript for their fluid, app-like experience.

If my site is not mobile-friendly, will this impact my desktop rankings as well?

On a panel at SMX Munich (2 weeks after SMX West) Zineb from Google answered ‘no’ without hesitation. We took this as another indication that the new index is related to a new crawler and/or a major change to the infrastructure they are using to parse, index, and evaluate mobile search results but not desktop results. That said, you should probably take some time soon to make sure that your site works—at least in a passable way—on mobile devices, just in case there are eventual desktop repercussions (and because this is a user experience best practice that can lead to other improvements that are still desktop ranking factors, such as decreasing your bounce rate).

How much will mobile rankings be impacted?

On the same panel at SMX Munich (mentioned above), Zineb said that this 21st change will be bigger than the Panda and Penguin updates. Again, we think this fits well with an infrastructure change. It is unclear if all mobile devices will be impacted in the change or not. The change might be more impactful for Android devices or might impact Android and iOS devices equally—though currently we are seeing significant differences between iOS and Android for some types of search results, with more significant changes happening on Android than on iOS.

What about sites that redirect to a mobile subdomain? Will they be considered mobile-friendly?

This is an interesting question, because immediately after the roll-out of the Mobile-Friendly tagging, we actually saw significantly more mDot (‘m.’) websites ranking well in the mobile SERPS. It’s almost like they counted the mobile subdomain as a Mobile-Friendly signal, but started the algorithm fresh, with no historical data to indicate which other sites had fewer obvious signals of mobility, like a responsive design, or an adaptive or dynamically served mobile site. It is also interesting to note that many of the Google representatives seem to have recently backed off of their strong insistence on responsive design. They still say that it is the least error-prone, and easiest to crawl and index, but they also now seem to be more willing to acknowledge the other viable mobile site architectures.

How do I know if my site meets Google’s requirements for mobile friendliness?

Google has created a Mobile-Friendliness tool that will give you a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on a per-url basis. Pages are evaluated individually, so another quick way to get a sense for how your top pages perform is to do a “site:” query for the domain in question on your phone. That will allow you to see all the pages indexed to the domain, and evaluate which ones are considered Mobile-Friendly and which are not, without having to submit them to the tool one at a time.

Google has been clear that Mobile-Friendly test results are binary, meaning that your page is either Mobile-Friendly or it is not. There is no 50% or 70% Mobile-Friendly result possible—no middle ground. They have also taken care to specify that Google’s Mobile-Friendly evaluations are somewhat instant, implying that there is no proving-time or “sandbox” associated with the tag, but this could be somewhat misleading. There may be no intentional time-delay before a page is awarded the Mobile-Friendly notation, but it will only change after a crawl of the site indicates that the page is now Mobile-Friendly, so it is close to instantaneous if the pages are getting crawled on a very regular basis.

We have found that the tool result does not necessarily match up with what we are seeing on our phones. We have occasionally also noticed that sometimes two pages in the same page template will perform differently, even though the content that changes between the template is primarily text. Both of these variations could simply be an indication of real-time delay between the tool and the crawler—the tool does an ad-hoc check on the URL to assess mobile-friendliness, but if the bot has not been by the site to evaluate its mobile friendliness recently, then the page in question would not yet have the Mobile-Friendly designation in the SERP. With this in mind, remember that when you are updating a page, and pushing it live for testing, you must use the tool to see if the update has been successful, until the site is re-crawled. This also means that once you see success in the tool, the best way to get the Mobile-Friendly designation to show up in the results faster might just be to push a sitemap in Webmaster tools, and try to trigger a fresh crawl.

How is mobile traffic impacted by the user search query? Is there a way I can find out if my top keywords are mostly desktop or mobile keywords?

Search queries actually matter more and more for mobile, because Google is trying to do a much better job of anticipating and embracing a user’s intent from the query. This means that often, Google is presenting the information a searcher requests directly in the search result above the organic rankings. SEOs are used to this for local-mobile searches, but it is now happening for all kinds of searches, so it can steal traffic that would otherwise go to the site and can skew success metrics.

What is Google’s goal with all of these mobile-friendly changes?

There are obviously a lot of goals in the mix here, but we do believe that Google is making these changes primarily to provide a better mobile experience for searchers, and give people exactly what they want.

So in conclusion…

Google don’t usually publicise the fact that the algorithm change is coming, this coupled with some of the snippets from above, we are looking at the update as a very open “testing the water” scenario.

We would suggest taking time if you are going to update your website to be mobile ready, this isn’t something you should rush into, the  algorithm change is rolling out from the 21st of April and we think it will make some changes to the search results but we think Google will just be running some tests for a much larger and unannounced change later in the year.

Mobile ready sites are the way all sites will go, so this is inevitable - giving the user the relevant information in the shortest and quickest way is and will always be key to a sites success.

Of course we are here to help answer any questions or queries you might have. If you want to discuss a mobile option for your website please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Posted on 8th Apr 2015 19:02:53 by surrect.media

Tags: Responsive Design, google update, mobile-friendly.

2014 Design Trends

2014 Design Trends

So its that time of the year when all designers consider or speculate on the forthcoming years trends, so I thought I might write a quick article based on what I think will be trending in 2014, what do you think?

Stock Photography

We will see a massive shift from “stock” photography - setup photos of folks looking very happy with themselves in dreamy locations - to photos of real people, these will help strike a cord with real people and instil a realism to website users.

Large Images

We are an image-driven culture. We love large, eye-popping images within a website, whether they come as a large background image or some high-resolution images that capture the user’s eye when they land on your website. Low-quality, smaller images will look even cheaper and less professional as 2014 gets rolling.

Flat Design

Flat design can be elegant and aesthetically pleasing when done well. Even with a flat design, your graphic design can give depth to important page elements or calls to action. The level of depth and manipulation of graphics will be significantly less than in the past.

Responsive Design

One of the most talked-about trends in 2013 should reach fever pitch in 2014, as more and more websites will be optimized to view on a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. The growing army of people surfing the web from their mobile devices is driving this trend.

Mix-and-Match Typography

Ok, this one is tricky because many websites try, and only some succeed in successfully mixing and matching several fonts. In general, you want to stick with one font in each larger typographical category (i.e. one serif with one sans-serif, or one serif with one script, or one script with one serif and one sans-serif).

Interactive Infographics

Infographics are a hot trend right now, so why not create an infographic that viewers can interact with? This opens new possibilities on how to present useful information that relates to your product or service.

Even More Animated GIFs

Just like video backgrounds, Animated GIFs provides websites with movement and a simple bit of “wow”. They went out of vogue due to quality and file size, but with modern internet speeds we can make beautiful auto-playing animations. While GIFs have been on the return, we think 2014 will be their fanciest year yet.

Video Backgrounds

Video background provides a stagnant site with some movement. It can really make a site stand out from the rest. Not to mention it can look striking, and engage visitors to want to stay on the site even longer.

Beards

I think 2013 was the year of the mustache, so 2014 will be the year of the beard! All that wisdom, masculinity and of course egg from the mornings egg bap.

Posted on 6th Jan 2014 21:13:15 by surrect.media

Tags: 2014 Design Trends, Responsive Design, Mix-and-Match Typography, Beards.

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