Google News: Algorithm Update Coming Soon. Is Your Website Ready?
On April 21st, Google is rolling out an update on how they rank websites, and it’s bigger than any of their previous updates. The algorithm is centered around improving the consumer’s user experience when searching on their mobile device(s). Google will accomplish this by ranking mobile-friendly websites higher for searches conducted on mobile. Many websites that are not mobile friendly could get lost in the shuffle. So it’s time to ask yourself, “Is my website mobile friendly? Am I ready for this update?”
Why is this important to your dealership?
With 94% of people with smartphones searching for local information on their phones, it is more important than ever for businesses to make their websites mobile-friendly. But let’s face it, a lot of businesses still haven’t taken the right steps to do so. With this algorithm update, Google is taking it into their own hands to help reinforce the importance of mobile-friendly websites to a user’s experience with online brands, especially while they are searching on a mobile device. In fact, Google recently had this to say on their Webmaster Central Blog about the shift in behavior:
“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns.” -Google
As Google emphasizes mobile-friendliness, this update can affect rankings for websites that aren’t mobile-friendly yet. But it doesn’t have to affect yours! Below are some tips to get started.
If you don’t have a mobile website set up yet, here’s where to start.
If you haven’t thought about optimizing your website for mobile, then it’s time to make a change. With a mobile website, you will want to ensure that your branding is similar to your desktop website, but trying to navigate a website that is designed for a desktop can be really difficult on a smaller mobile screen. Try to keep the color scheme and fonts consistent, but think about changing the design to better match a mobile experience. If you have navigation tabs at the top of your website, then why not make that a drop down menu or the main page that you see when people arrive to your site? Take a look at Asco’s desktop and mobile home pages for inspiration.
If you don’t have a mobile website, or are just beginning to design yours, take a look at Google’s list of common errors to avoid. If you don’t have the time or resources to develop a mobile website yourself, then connect with us to learn how we can help get you started.
Do you have a mobile presence but are worried that it isn’t ready for the change?
Google has created a few tools that can help you find out if you’re website is ready. It’s simple. All you have to do is enter your website URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This test scans your website as a Googlebot, the same tool that determines search engine rankings. You will get a report back either giving your website the green light that your website is good to go, or a red message letting you know that your website is not mobile-friendly. The good news is that, with a red message, Google informs you of what the issues are, like in the example below, and provides you with the next steps to fixing these issues in order to make your website mobile-friendly. Please note though that if you are a mobile customer of ours, the URL you test with this tool will be a bit different. So please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns about whether your website is mobile-friendly.
One of the most common errors that mobile websites tend to have is text that is too small to read. People don’t want to take the time to zoom in and determine what it is that you saying, or where you want them to go next, such as looking at new inventory. Your website has to be easy to read and navigate to make the experience as hassle-free as possible. Make sure there is no zooming or squinting at the screen necessary!
You also want to make sure that your links and buttons are easy to use. Don’t forget that viewers on mobile are using their thumbs to click, so the buttons need to be large enough and far enough apart that they don’t accidentally press the wrong one. If you can’t press the button that you want, it is easy to become frustrated, and the last thing you want is for viewers to leave your page because of this.
What to do Next?
If your website is not mobile-friendly, then it is essential that you make the improvements that Google suggests. But even if your website gets the thumbs up, you shouldn’t stop there. Just like with your desktop website, you want to optimize your mobile website to not only work, but to also give your visitors the best experience. There are still improvements that you can make to your mobile presence that will help your rankings, such as simplifying the website design, featuring an engaging image, and ensuring that your mobile pages load quickly. To learn more about how to take your mobile presence to the next level, check out our previous blog post here.
And did you know that with our latest update to our mobile offering, you can now create custom mobile pages that include text and images that are optimized for mobile devices? This update is great for creating new mobile pages for your parts or services pages to keep mobile visitors engaged with all aspects of your business. Reach out to us for more information.
Google has also created a great tool to help you determine how your mobile website is performing called Page Speed Insights. This gives a more in depth look at your mobile and desktop website, and even gives suggestions on how to fix some of the issues that you may be having. Unlike the mobile-friendly test, the insights tool allows you to see problems from a visitors point of view instead of the Googlebot, so these changes could help the user experience of your website. Take some time to check out this tool and see what changes you can make to improve your mobile presence.
Looking for more help in getting your website ready for the change? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!