Big changes are happening in search! While google often makes updates to the criteria it uses to rank sites, this week they made a big announcement:
Search engine results will soon include mobile friendly labels.
Basically, when you get search results listings, there will be a mobile friendly tag on the sites that are mobile responsive. This way, when you’re choosing which site to link on, you can prioritize links that will work on your mobile device.
We already know that Google has starting placing priority on mobile responsive sites in search listings, recognizing that starting in 2015 there will be more people doing search using their mobile devices than on their home computers. This mobile-friendly tag only adds to the preference now being given to mobile responsive sites.
Is your site mobile friendly?
Google has actually created a free tool to analyze your site and let you know if you meet the criteria for the mobile-friendly label. It will even give suggestions so that you know what changes need to happen in order to pass the test. Click here to analyze your website to see if it meets the criteria!
What does this mean for you?
If you do not yet have a mobile responsive site, now is the time to start setting aside the funds to invest in a custom design or responsive template option! Cost will range anywhere from $40 - 80 if you purchase a responsive template from wordpress ( check out my DIY WEBSITE SCHOOL) and build the site yourself, to $1500 for one of my starter template websites for doulas, and $4000 + for custom responsive design.
Alternative options include Squarespace, whose sites are mobile responsive, and the “Bradley” and “Squared” weebly templates. Many drag & drop builders are “mobile optimized”, which is less effective than a site that is mobile responsive. Be sure you are choosing an option that is truly mobile responsive.
There are lots of great benefits of mobile responsive design:
1. Your site will automatically adjust its formatting for users with any size of mobile device, which means less frustration for potential clients and more site visitors able to learn about your services with ease.
2. Have you heard of a bounce rate? This is the % of people who arrive on your site, and leave within the first minute. (I know, ouch…) A mobile responsive site will result in a much lower bounce rate for mobile users, increasing the number of visitors who stay long enough to learn more about your great work. Plus, google likes seeing a lower bounce rate, as it serves as a clue that your site has quality content so is worth ranking in search results. FYI, a normal bounce rate will range from 40 - 60% for most service-based websites. I know that seems high, but that’s the norm…
3. When you have a mobile responsive site, it reduces your site loading time. Sites that have a different mobile version of the site (using a plugin or paid service that creates an alternate mobile version of your site) have a higher loading time. This then increases your bounce rate, as mentioned in benefit #2.
By now you're probably shaking your head and desperately wishing you had never read this blog post...
A few words of comfort: While denial is totally an option, you do have time on your side. The impact of this is going to play out over the next year or so. You don't have to change your system within the next month! Now is the time to put your plans into place to ensure that your website can maintain and grow in its rankings through mobile responsive design. Be sure to also check out my SEO Birth Plan eCourse to help you create a website that will truly serve your practice for years to come with great SEO.