With Google’s announcement of switching to a mobile-first platform hanging in the air, it’s best to prepare for the changes to come. Though the decision was recent, there is no doubt that soon everything will start to change–and content creators had best be ready. Regardless of whether a user is accessing Google via their computer or their phone, Google’s platform will be mobile-oriented. So, what is a content creator to do regarding search engine optimization?
First, all websites need to be accessible from a mobile device; not just viewable, either. All of the content displayed on the page itself needs to be the same for both devices, or else rankings will deteriorate. “See More” or “Keep Reading” sections will result in a website losing out on click-through-ratings as well as dwell time, leaving such sites in the dust. Content that’s hidden behind menus, ads, buttons, and other such nonsense won’t get the attention it deserves.
According to Google itself, this orientation change will be less negatively impactful for websites who use a responsive design for their mobile site versions. Content creators whose web designs have an “m” option for mobile viewing are more likely to experience issues. The responsive design is a much more beneficial method of mobile website design and is more user-friendly, allowing for a better ranking.
A website cannot merely have a mobile version that technically functions if they plan on sticking around. Mobile sites are becoming more and more critical, and having a website that thrives on a mobile platform is the only way to guarantee long-term success. Click-through-rates might not change much in the beginning, but dwell time will plummet if users cannot access all of their favorite features or even see all of the text when visiting a site from their mobile device. Whether the intended audience for any website is computer-based or not, it is evident that tablets, smartphones, and other portable devices are here to stay. Being able to excel within those parameters is no longer optional–it’s necessary.
Thankfully, Google has a mobile-friendliness calculator that websites can use to determine whether or not their current standards are up to par.
Measuring the ease of use for a website via a mobile device is a nifty feature and useful tool, enabling any content creator to get ahead of the upcoming changes to the interactive functions of the internet. This calculator will provide not only an easily understood rating for websites to see just how user-friendly their mobile site is on a scale but also analysis for methods and means of improvement for those who fall below where they would like to be. A page might not be mobile-friendly if certain aspects of the site don’t load appropriately or if a faulty layout obscures some of the content. Knowing these things in advance gives a website plenty of time to rectify the problem before it takes a toll on their rankings and userbase.
By just changing a few aspects of a template or reorienting content for mobile viewing, websites can maintain their current ranking or get ahead of less mobile-friendly sites during this transition period. Such an opportunity is an excellent chance for a complete overhaul and reexamination of the functionality and appeal of a website as well as its current content. It’s time to update everything to prepare for future success.