Business Digital Marketing User Experience Design

Go Responsive or Go Down – Google Search Mobile Friendly Update


On November 14, 2014 Google launched its Mobile-friendly label on all mobile device searches. This was a small step towards the most recent update which we’ll talk about later in this post. On November 2014 all responsive websites were labelled with a grey ‘Mobile-friendlytag under the URL address as the image below suggests:


Google Mobile Friendly Update

People who browse Google on their mobile devices can see whether your website is responsive or not. And this happens before they decide to view your website in search results. Having this label in mind, it’s natural that mobile device users prefer responsive websites.


Responsive versus not responsive

Below you can see two screenshots which I’ve made recently. On the left you can see website which is not mobile optimized, and on the right the website is optimized for mobile devices.


google mobile friendly update
Not Responsive
Google Mobile Friendly Update 4


The difference is clear. The responsive websites welcome users with a properly sized content which adapts to their device screens, and provides user friendly navigation. Because the font and images become so small on the websites that are not mobile friendly, people simply leave it immediately.



What Google Mobile Friendly Update Means

On April 21st, 2015, Google released one of their largest updates which will start ranking mobile-friendly websites above those which are not mobile friendly. Yes, it doesn’t matter how well your website is optimized for search engines, if it’s not responsive or doesn’t support dynamic serving – you will be buried down on Google search results under your competitors who have responsive websites. Note that this applies only for the search that comes from mobile devices. This is an official Google post about mobile friendly Google search update.


Check If Your Website is Responsive

On Google Webmaster Tools website you can verify if your website is mobile friendly and meets all Google mobile friendly standards. Click here to find out.

eMarketer suggests that by the end of 2015, mobile will represent 70% of the total US search audience. And the same upward trend is happening in the whole world. Doesn’t matter where your visitors come from, the visits from mobile devices will increase and that’s a fact.


Should You React To Google Search Mobile Friendly Update?

It all really depends on your individual website traffic. I would suggest to check what is the percentage of people who come from the mobile devices as soon as possible. You should act quickly, because after the latest Google search mobile friendly update, your websites will naturally get less mobile traffic, because it will be downgraded in search results that come through mobile devices. People who use Google on their mobile devices won’t be able to see your website in first pages of search results anymore.

You can check the traffic source to your website through your Google Analytics account, if your website is set up with this service. A screenshot below shows the percentage of traffic which comes to a website from mobile devices:


Visitors Technology   Google Analytics



As you can see the website has 8.4% mobile traffic, which means that 8 in 100 people who come to the website use smartphone or a tablet computer.

Using the same Google Analytics you can figure out what is the source of mobile traffic. Is it direct, through social media or organic search. The chances are that percentage of people who come to your website through organic search and use mobile device will be even lower.

This suggests that some of the websites will not feel a big effect on their visitor numbers in the short-run, but in the long-run they will see their visitor numbers decreasing and will have to redesign their websites to meet mobile Google standards.


Why You Should Make Your Website Responsive?

Taking into account the upward mobile traffic trends, people should use the momentum of this mobile friendly Google search update and make their websites mobile friendly as soon as possible. Waiting will not bring any good.

Potential consequences for unresponsive websites and businesses who own these websites, would be that it might get pushed down by 15 or even 30 positions down on mobile Google search results. This will make your business much harder to find on mobile web. So the end result for you is lost business.

If your website is mobile friendly already – congratulations, the chances are that it will move up in the search results.


Mobile Responsiveness is Not All About Google

You shouldn’t forget that mobile responsiveness is not something that should be measured only by Google ranking. Having a responsive website means being modern and in touch with the latest technology. Remember, that people can bump into your business online anyhow and anywhere in the world. Whether you welcome them with smile wide open or scaring them away with poor experience.



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