Darren Azzopardi SEO & Usability Lover

Google's incentive to mobile friendly websites

Mobile friendly websites are pushed to the top of Googles mobile search results

On April 21st Google announced that it will favour mobile friendly sites, pushing them up the rankings compared to 'desktop only' websites.

Obviously this favour will kick in when you perform a search on your mobile. Hooray for all you cool cats with your mobile friendly sites...or is it?

Google is assuming that when you're on your mobile it would be a much better experience to use a mobile friendly site; images optimised, content easily found, quick download times, great navigation and all that jazz.

Using a mobile site on a mobile is better than fiddling about with an unoptimised desktop version?

Let's get to the point and try to understand what it really means.

From my point of view what's really going to happen is (drum roll please); cue all agencies ramming this down business owners throats;

You need to have a mobile site to stay ahead of the rest.

- Said a design agency that wants your money

They're looking to earn a quick penny off the insecurity of the uninformed, not all but there could be a bit of fear mongering going on.

Overall I like the idea, I really do. We all want the best experience possible with the best content served up but there's problem I see.

Most websites aren't ready, not even close enough

If you have a mobile friendly site then that's great for you. You've thought about your audience and so it's nice of Google to credit you with a push up the ranking. What Google doesn't tell you is if you need to make your website better AKA make the content better, the usability of your site better or to even atleast bloody test your website! The number of mobile friendly sites that exist will not allow companies to benefit from this incentive.

Desktop website getting poor results? Then so will your mobile version.

If your desktop site isn't receiving any traffic (quality not quantity) or it doesn't convert or Google Analytics tells you that you get more traffic from porn sites then you're in trouble. You could expect to see maybe a smudge of an increase, but that is it.

The amount of times I visit a 'mobile site' only to be frustrated at not finding what I want, wishing I could use their desktop website version instead.

What's worse is if your mobile friendly site suffers the same fate as your desktop;no real content and nothing good to offer. Then your bounce rate will be high and you'll gradually fall back underneath existing mobile friendly sites. Which is a bit poo really and I don't like the idea of that.

Sticking up for the vulnerable, the uninformed business owners

I don't want business owners to feel pressured into having a mobile site, just because Google has announced this and design agencies to be at their doors rubbing their hands together wanting to burn their money.

What you can do to help your website now, like right now!

Websites are about offering great content, so really get to work and invest your time in putting a plan of action of how you gather content to publish and to kick some content butt. Don't jump into building a mobile site when you've ignored this. Content is a big slice of a website-pie.

Let your website shine from the inside out. All that great content being read, shared, tweeted-whatever just make love to your websites content.

  • Work on cultivating great content that will help your audience.
  • Find out how fast your website is at downloading (or being rendered on desktop and mobile). Look into page speeds
  • Test your site, I don't care how, just do it.

Remember it's about creating a habit of regularly creating content.

You'll be in a much better position if you sit back, look at your current site, acknowledge any flaws and start producing helpful content for it. Start writing articles that your users want to share. Really fall in love with it again. Only then when you make the switch or incorporate a mobile friendly design will you benefit from this new algorithm.

Don't be mobile ready, be content ready.

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