This was no surprise as they have been warning us for at least the past couple of years and those of us that have been in the SEO industry for a long time have known this will eventually happen.
This essentially means that all the ranking factors which were previously used to make up your page score and rank your website will now be determined from the mobile version of your website instead of the desktop version like in previous years.
It will be a staged rollout
Google has also announced that this will not happen overnight and they will be rolling out this update on a site-by-site basis, hoping to have all websites migrated to the new ranking system by then.
The side effect of this will also involve us keeping a closer eye on our website’s ranking for any changes as these effects take hold. There will likely be a big stir in the search engine results as well so keep an eye out for those.
I get many questions from clients who want to know how we stay on top of all the updates that Google pumps out on a weekly or even daily basis. Well:
SEMrush a service we use for our Search Engine Optimisation offers a great way to monitor changes in the search results with it’s SEMrush Sensor.
Here is one such sensor at work (the following is a working real-time example so feel free to refer to it at any time):
What happens with the Desktop version?
The desktop version of the website will still be crawled but using Google’s Mobile Crawler. So for websites that are not yet mobile responsive, ranking factors will be calculated using the mobile user agent. If you do not yet have a responsive/mobile friendly website, this may the time to seriously consider investing into one.
If we still don’t have you convinced that mobile is taking over, here are some actual device statistics from one of our client’s Google Analytics:
As you can see most of the traffic on this website is from mobile and tablet devices (over 70%). And this is obviously not an isolated case. We are seeing these trends across multiple websites, and especially in the leisure industry.
But … What are the factors that will affect your rankings from now on?
One of the things we have done to adapt to these changes is to update our SEO Audit which now contains, in addition to all the other ranking factors, a mobile specific section that tests all of the factors that would impact your ability to rank in search results.
We have decided to split these mobile factors into these categories:
1. User Experience
2. Technical & Loading Speed
These 3 categories cover all direct and indirect factors that will start to affect your website’s ability to rank effectively once the mobile first switch is made, and range from:
– Image optimisations
– Content legibility, formatting and font sizes
– Loading Speed impact and improvements
– Mobile specific errors
– Resizing and page layout
If you would like to know more about our comprehensive SEO Website Audit, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com or if you are a current client just ask your account manager and they will be able to provide more information.