Does Mobile Compatibility Affect Search Engine Optimization?
The short answer is yes. Google’s popularity has been long based on its ability to help users to quickly find highly relevant, quality content. As consumers move to smartphones as the device of choice for Web browsing, how will this affect search engines like Google? In 2015, more consumers browse the Web with smartphones than with any other type of device. In fact, more search is conducted worldwide with smartphones than with any other device.
Will Google start to give higher ranking and authority to websites that are smartphone compatible (responsive)? Can we expect to see a Google search algorithm update in the near future that adds Mobile Web (smartphone) compatibility as a factor in overall website ranking? Will websites that have not upgraded to accommodate smartphones start to suffer in search results?
3 Reasons To Worry About Smartphones & Google SEO
There are three very good reasons to be concerned about this. One is the Smartphone Googlebot-Mobile that was added to Google in late 2011. This “bot” allows Google to determine the smartphone compatibility of all websites in its search index. Mobile search has surpassed desktop search as of 2015. Google is determined to provide mobile-compatible search results for its users on smartphones and iPhones.
Secondly, as of Jan 2015, Google has begun to issue smartphone incompatibility warnings to websites listed in Google Webmaster Tools. If your website is not smartphone compatible, Google wants you to fix it. Here is a sample warning notice:
The third reason is Google’s official recommendation of responsive web design (one website that adapts to any devices used to browse it) as the recommended website design configuration. Thus, they have gone on record as stating that this is the best practice for building websites. At what point will adhering to (or ignoring) this recommendation affect your website’s search engine ranking? If the majority of search engine users are looking for smartphone compatible websites, we can be sure that Google will comply. They must. It makes smart business sense, especially if they want to stay on top.
The Point Is …
The market has spoken. Consumers are using smartphones as the online browser of choice. All search engines must adapt, and give consumers what they want, or die a rather rapid death. If you have a business website that caters to consumers, the point is clear. Upgrade to “responsive” web design to ensure full smartphone compatibility, now!
Update, October 22, 2015
There are two steps taken by Google that indicate the importance of mobile compatibility in search ranking. Google now adds “Mobile friendly” tags to sites that display well on mobile devices. Also, Google also started penalizing sites in Mobile search that aren’t mobile friendly.
I create responsive websites that full smartphone compatibility. Contact Don Peterson, Mobile Website Designer, at 917.2679281 for a free no-obligation discussion of your web design needs.