Mobile search optimization will be a top priority for marketers given Google’s changes in how it ranks mobile search results. Google announced last week that it will begin penalizing sites if they are not mobile friendly or are misconfigured for mobile. Meaning if marketers do not follow Google’s mobile SEO guidelines, they could see a steep decline in traffic coming from smartphones and tablets to their sites.
“This move highlights both the growing importance of smartphone users to Google and the difficulty Google is experiencing providing ideal search results to those users,” said Jon Maxson, senior director of SEO at iCrossing, New York.
While marketers may find implementation of the guidelines costly and time-consuming, Google’s new strategy will allow for a more positive experience for both developers and users alike. Google mentioned that in addition to favouring mobile optimized sites, it will be rewarding developers with higher rankings if they offer a positive smartphone search experience, and do not deliver page errors, lengthy loading times or irrelevant redirects. The adoption of the guidelines will also help brands drive mobile visitors to relevant content experience, reduce bounce rates and increase site conversions.
With the surge of smartphone and tablet internet browsing, mobile users are becoming ever more sensitive to mobile browsing errors. In fact, research reveals that 79% of mobile web users will search of another site if they do not like what they find on one site. Similarly, 50% of users will use a company less often if their website is not mobile friendly, even if they favour that business. The revisions to Google’s guidelines will now provide a more enjoyable user experience on mobile devices by providing more accurate results in a speedier manner.
Google’s changes seek to fix common mistakes made on mobile websites. One of them is to eliminate faulty redirects, which occur when users are redirected from a desktop site to an irrelevant mobile optimized site, rather than to a mobile-optimized version of the page the user is searching for. To avoid this problem, it is recommended that marketers redirect users to their own mobile optimized page.
Given that internet users are increasingly switching from desktop to mobile, it may be safe to say that Google’s guidelines are helping users and marketers adapt to current market trends and the future of mobile. As Iprospect’s Mr. Cipielewski said, ““Regardless of what webmasters should have been doing, it’s clear that the users are driving Google to respond with this new algorithm; soon we can say the market has shifted from a desktop market to a mobile market.”
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