Only 2 weeks into Google’s new mobile algorithm, business owners who do not possess a responsive theme are feeling the pinch. The mobile-oriented algorithm change, which was announced months ago as an “on-off” switch by Google spokespeople, has played havoc with the traditional ranking methods of small business owners and corporate business leaders alike. Around the world, businesses are reporting fluctuating SERP rankings as their websites react to Google’s new ranking structure. A quick look into the root cause of these fluctuations will reveal that some simple on-site alterations will suffice to return any business to their previous ranking glory.
On April 21, Google implemented a new mobile search algorithm which places high importance on mobile-friendly websites, providing them with a rankings boost. This is in response to the enormous amount of search engine traffic generated by mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Depending on the resource you consult, mobile search traffic makes up between 40 and 55 percent of all search queries made through Google. Given that most mobile searches are direct, sales-oriented queries, it is in business owner’s best interests to ensure that their site is responsive (i.e. capable of supporting mobile devices in an efficient and convenient way).
In an attempt to better understand the issue from a practical perspective, we approached Robert Cairns, the Marketing Director of Caseo Digital Marketing Services – a leading Canadian SEO agency responsible for clients of all sizes around the world:
“The issue many business owners are facing today is that their website is not responsive. Google’s algorithm takes into account whether a website is responsive or not, and assigns a rankings boost or penalty depending on what it discovers. This means that unresponsive sites have suffered a hit overnight while responsive sites have seen rankings boosts in the same time frame. We have multiple clients who, due to our foresight into Google’s plans, have achieved huge SERP boosts over their competition in the last few weeks.”
Cairns further stated that businesses with unresponsive websites have suffered as much as a 30% decrease in traffic rates when compared to their responsive counterparts. What this means is that by retaining an unresponsive website design, business owners are passing up on as much as a third of their potential clients on a daily basis.
However, it is not all bad news. There is a simple solution to this problem: creating a responsive theme for your website. This is generally an extremely cheap and effective solution to the issue posed by Google’s new algorithm. Since the algorithm is an “on-off” ranking factor, drops in rankings can be avoided by simply checking a box. When Google next crawls your website, it will look for a responsive theme. If one is found, ranking boost. If not, expect to see drops. This can be extremely frustrating, but in the world of search, changes occur quickly, and webmasters must adapt quickly and efficiently in order to keep up.
One thing is for sure: responsive websites are the way of the future. Google is continually tweaking their algorithm to take further ranking factors into account, but this alteration is here for the long haul. By producing a responsive website, you give yourself the best chance of ranking on the 1st page and getting that valuable traffic.