If there’s every been a time to ensure your website is responsive to mobile users, the time is now. Today in a blog post Google notified webmasters that they’ll be promoting modern websites in the search results by notifying searchers that the site they are about to visit “may not work” on their device. The example Google provides at the blog post is concerning websites that use Flash technology in their code, but they mention these notifications will be displayed to users when Google’s “algorithms detect pages that may not work on their devices”.
One of Google’s main goals (and the goal of most major search engines) is to facilitate a meaningful and positive user experience for people who use their search engine. The more negative experiences a user has after using the search engine, the higher the chance of that user going to another search engine.
With that in mind, Google has always been interested in guiding webmasters to utilize web design best practices on how to create a responsive website and even provides a full recommendation on how to build smart-phone optimized websites.
Don’t think this is something new; even before today’s announcement, Google started notifying search users about websites that trigger faulty redirects to users who click on their link in the search results. The bottom line is, mobile users are tired of visiting websites that don’t work properly on the device they’re using, and Google’s going to do something about it.
Why does Google care so much about mobile usage?
Year after year, statistics continue to show that mobile usage is growing substantially and almost gaining on desktop usage. These days. as the owner of a website that uses search to gain visitors and potential customers, you can’t ignore your mobile users, and neither can Google. There’s only so many times that a mobile user will be patient with a website that doesn’t display the way it’s supposed to or provide the services and functions it claims.
You have to keep in mind that there’s frequently a huge gap in the intent of mobile searchers vs desktop users. According to Microsoft, 53% of mobile searchers are looking for local content; or have “local intent” and quite recently Placeable did a survey that indicated that mobile usage dominates search queries related to vacations.
Do you need the work of an SEO?
Probably not, but you do need a web developer experienced in creating responsive websites. Once your website is up-to-snuff you can hire an SEO or usability expert to help ensure you site is abiding by SEO and usability best practices and that your mobile users are actually getting what they need when they visit your website.