Are you Mobile Friendly? The countdown has started!
April fools has always been one my favourite times of the year. Over recent years the art of subterfuge has waned and the timely jokes have become harder to come by. There will be no joking on April 21st if you have missed the responsive boat, Google expects you to have your mobile house in order!
If not, well as usual, you will pay the price for not improving the search experience of its users!
For many photographers out there, you may have no idea what I’m talking about. You’re already swamped with Google Analytics, SEO, Link building and Social Media commitments; the endless off topic requirements of the modern digital photographer, when you’re not taking pictures. The digital irony is overwhelming for most.
However, have you recently received an email from Google titled – “Fix mobility usability issue found on [Your Website]“? If your web pages are falling foul of Google’s new mobile requirements you may well have received a message like this one:
If you have received this email notification then the writing is on the wall and the clock is ticking. Ignore this warning and you will be sure to see your presence in the mobile search results evaporate between April 21st and April 28th 2015.
First: Log in to your Google Webmaster Tools and navigate to > Search Traffic > Mobile Usability and assess the potential damage and act now!
Second: Keep reading this post and be sure to share it and unlock the informative checklist and case study below.
The important aspect to this seismic algorithm update is: are your webpages mobile friendly or not? There is no grey area, the answer is either yes or no, assessed on a page by page basis.
If you presently reside in the ‘nots’ then time is running out for you I’m afraid. Starting on Tuesday 21st April 2015 your website will lose ranking position in the mobile search results on a page by page basis according to Google. For most of the photographers that are members here at Togwire this would be a potential traffic drop in range of 20-35% if they were not mobile ready! :)
Google has clarified the Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm update will roll out over a week and be a yes/no responsive decision on a page by page basis. So how can you find out if your website is ready to jump through the next Google hoop of unconditional obligation?
To find more about Google’s Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm and exactly how to check and validate the mobile status of your website and webpages please share this post!
Things you need to know:
(1) The algorithm will roll out from April 21st and will take up to a week to complete globally.
(2) Your webpages are either mobile-friendly or not, there are no degrees of mobile-friendliness in this algorithm.
(3) The easiest way to see if your web pages are mobile-friendly is to see if you have the mobile-friendly label in the live mobile search results.
Search for your brand on a phone to see if you have the label above. See if there is a grey mobile friendly label in your description snippet. If you see it that means that Google understands that your website is mobile friendly. If you don’t see it then either Google presently doesn’t acknowledge that your website site is mobile friendly or your website is not mobile friendly.
(4) Check your website with the mobile-friendly testing tool, this should match the live Google search results.
(5) For in depth analysis of your webpages, log in to your Google Webmaster Tools and navigate to: > Search Traffic > Mobile Usability
Remember: The mobile usability reports in Google Webmaster Tools can be delayed based on when your website was last crawled by Google.
Google recently ran a Hangout on Air Q&A session over on Google+. The important points to take away are as follows:
The Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm will take up to a week to rollout
Takeaway: Check your primary searches daily from the April 21st on a mobile device to assess the direct impact in your target niche and location.
Is Your Page Mobile-Friendly Or Not?
Takeaway: The mobile-friendly algorithm is a yes or no argument algorithm on a page-by-page basis. It does not assess how mobile-friendly your pages are, it is simply are you mobile-friendly or not?
How Do You Know You Are Mobile-Friendly?
Takeaway: You have 3 ports of call which I have already covered above:
- Check to see if your current pages have the mobile-friendly label in the live mobile search results now.
- If so, the mobile-friendly testing tool should also confirm the same result.
- Remember to check your mobile usability reports in your Webmaster Tools for in-depth analysis of your mobile usability status dependent on the last time Google crawled your website.
The full video Q&A session for mobile-friendly ranking is available on Google+, which was recorded Tue, Mar 24 – 2015 – Watch the full hangout here
More resources for you on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Ranking Algorithm
- Google’s mobile-friendly ranking algorithm is launching on April 21st – Read more
- It will be on a page-by-page and real-time basis – Read more
- This algorithm will have a significantly larger impact, compared to the Panda and Penguin algorithms – Read more
- Do you have the mobile-friendly label in the live mobile search results? – Read More
Mobile Friendly Search Case Study
Let’s have a look at a reasonably competitive search term in the U.S – “wedding photographer Dallas“.
The first potential victim we can see on page one of the search results is Amy Karp.
She is actually using the WordPress Theme – ProPhoto5 but has neglected to configure her mobile delivery from within the ProPhoto configuration.
Amy Karp tested on Google’s Mobile Testing Tool. This is actually pretty easy for Amy to address and I will drop her an email to let her know of her potential mobile ranking predicament. Therefore, if you look at the test results in the future you may well see Amy is passing with flying colours, let’s hope so! :)
Dallas Wedding Photographers TX are next to fail the test, they are again running on WordPress, but using a non-responsive Genesis theme.
Dallas Wedding Photographers TX tested on Google’s Mobile Testing Tool.
Junebug Weddings are next to fail the test. Now Junebug Weddings pride their brand on exclusivity and the costs of listing and advertising with them reflect that. I’m not sure how well those of you who are paying to be listed on this website will feel when the traffic to Junebug could potentially, in 21 days, be dropping by 20%+.
Actually a couple of Togwire members are featured on Junebug – Samuel Docker and York Place Studios. I’ll be sure to give them the heads up!
JuneBug Weddings tested on Google’s Mobile Testing Tool.
The last result on page 1 to fail the test, the Fearless Photographers website. This is again a paid service, which generates a considerable income for the owners. It perplexes me that successful organisations like Fearless and Junebug Weddings are so far ahead of the curve in many ways and could drop the ball on the fundamentals. After all, one thing we can be sure of, mobile is here to stay!
Fearless Photographers tested on Google’s Mobile Testing Tool.
Please note: The mobile testing links above were all fails on April 1st 2015, if the vendors in question have subsequently addressed their individual mobile failings, you may well see different results to those I have highlighted.
This is only a single snapshot for one service and location search (wedding photographer Dallas), but if we look at it in isolation first, let’s see what we can ascertain:
In theory, 4 websites/webpages on page one of Google for this competitive search should disappear from the mobile search results come 21st April 2015 and beyond.
That means if you are a wedding photographer in Dallas, presently sitting in the top section of page 2 and you have your mobile act in order, then you should be heading to page one of the mobile search results.
Each one of those websites which has failed the mobile test could be potentially heading for 20-35% traffic loss if they don’t address their mobile search performance requirements before 21st April 2015.
If we extrapolate these findings across the photography niches and use them as a potential ranking model for the mobile search market, then we are in for considerable ranking changes across the photography verticals. It would be foolhardy to do this with only one dataset, but that dataset is enough to question the noise looming in the mobile search results. It gives us an insight into the potential gains that could be achievable come April 21st if you are ready for this Algorithm rollout.
It will take you 5-10 minutes to emulate the case study above for your primary keyword searches and establish if you are potentially going to be a winner when the dust settles after the mobile-friendly shake down.
The positives we can draw from this Mobile Algorithm are that opportunity is knocking. Your mobile ranking potential sits firmly in your hands, there are no grey areas, pass the test and you are in the running to make mobile ranking gains. Remember this algorithm is earmarked to have a significantly larger impact compared to the Panda and Penguin algorithms of the past.
I do hope this post has been of use to you? If it has helped you to ascertain the exposure of your business to this mobile-friendly algorithm that would be great news. Perhaps it has assisted you in recovering your mobile rankings post the rollout date, which again would be delightful to hear. Please feel free to add your thoughts, woes and mobile ranking success stories via the comments below.
If you would consider sharing this post socially I would very much appreciate the social endorsement. Thank you.