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Google to Penalize Non-Mobile Friendly Websites in Search

If you’ve been putting off upgrading your existing website to a responsive web design, it’s officially time to reconsider. Starting on April 21, 2015, Google will begin penalizing non-“mobile-friendly”(read, non-responsive websites) by downgrading those websites’ rank on Google searches. In short, this means that non-responsive sites will essentially lose hard-won SEO rankings with the flip of a switch. Imagine standing in line for a ride at Disneyland for two hours, and just as you reach the front, a trap door opens. It’s kind of like that.

Google stated:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Like it or not, the Internet is Google’s domain, and we’re all just living in it. Google may be our overlord, but it’s not necessarily a vengeful one. The new search rankings are designed to reflect the undeniable trend of people accessing the Internet via mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, etc. Mobile access has reached a tipping point, quickly outpacing desktop access, and Google’s new search algorithm reflects this reality. The news isn’t a surprise. Web developers and SEO experts have been expecting this development for the last couple of years as mobile devices exploded. We knew it was coming, we just didn’t know exactly when. Now we do. And it’s not bad news – it’s an opportunity. Not just to upgrade your website, but to rethink it altogether.

The rise of mobile hasn’t just changed the devices we use to access the web, it’s changed the way we consume content. Our information consumption tastes have veered from buffet to à la carte. We expect singular information on demand – where’s the closest restaurant, what’s the current temp in Boise, how much do beach cruiser bicycles cost, etc. Of course, not every business deals in singular information. But the best websites are constructed as if they do. Upgrading to a responsive website will not only improve your search rankings, it will give you a chance to rearrange your information architecture. By applying an “inverted pyramid” information flow, you can ensure you most important information – your contact info, your basic services, etc. – turn up first in mobile searches, allowing you to then guide your audience through a linear, user-friendly information discovery.

The digital landscape is shifting once again. But it’s not a hindrance. It’s a chance to get ahead of the curve. Contact Les Kollegian at Jacob Tyler Brand Communications if you want more information about Responsive Design or how we can help convert your current Website.

SEO by Jacob Tyler in San Diego

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