Google Announces Site Demotion for Websites That Are Not Mobile Responsive
On Monday, Google announced that websites will receive a lower ranking in search engine results if they are not mobile optimized. This penalty was put in effect yesterday, Tuesday April 21, 2015. Google will measure penalties using their analysis tool.
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Google initially hinted at a mobile optimized SEO update back in February, but the announcement that it would take effect this week was a surprise to all marketers. This update is an answer to the increasing use of mobile phones for internet searches.
This update is hitting all websites across the web, including big name brands. The tool has reported that mobile sites for Microsoft’s Windows Phones, Versace and The Daily Mail were not optimized and will lower in their rankings, according to Forbes.
The Google mobile SEO update only affects search results on mobile phones. Tablets and laptops are not included. According to Small Business Trends, 60 percent of online traffic comes from a mobile device, so this update will severely hurt your potential brand reach to the 60 percent of people searching on mobile.
Even if you believe your site is mobile optimized, it may not be. The Google update looks at every page on your domain. So, if your home page is mobile optimized, but your services page is not, the services page will fall in mobile search engine rankings. This is the case with Microsoft’s Windows Phones home page, whose text is too small for mobile devices.
Luckily, this update will not blacklist your website forever. Google states that, once a site takes the necessary steps to become mobile optimized, they will see an improvement in their search results within a few days of updating to a mobile responsive site.
Google is providing a mobile SEO tool you can use to check if your website is not mobile responsive. If the tool reports problems, it is imperative to fix them and make your website mobile optimized. A hit in your mobile search rankings will alienate a large portion of your potential customer base.