A couple of months ago, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) released yet another algorithm update that was meant to affect SERPs of web pages based on their mobile-friendliness. After the algorithm was officially announced, Moovweb – a cloud-based platform that helps optimize mobile experiences, discovered that 83% of the top result of 1000 eCommerce keywords were tagged mobile-friendly by Google.
Earlier in November 2014, Google introduced the “Mobile-Friendly tag or label” into their mobile search results to help the people using Google on their mobile devices identify mobile-friendly pages among the search results in order to offer a better user experience. At that time Google did confirm that they were planning whether “Mobile-friendliness” of a website be considered as a ranking signal. Later in February 2015, Google announced that starting April 21, the search engine will be using “Mobile-Friendliness” as a ranking signal.
Owing to this announcement, Moovweb decided to study the changes in the SERPs of over 1,000 eCommerce keywords from different industries in the span of 6 weeks since the formal launch of the new ranking signal.
Key Findings of the Analysis by Moovweb:
- By studying the 1st position result for all 1000 eCommerce keywords, it was found that 83% of the time, the top result is labeled as “mobile-friendly” by Google.
- When the study was expanded to the top 3 SERPs, the percentage of mobile-friendly tagged pages slipped slightly to 81%.
- Analysis of the first-page results for all 1000 eCommerce keywords showed that almost 77% of the search results are tagged mobile-friendly.
Does The Effect Mobile-friendliness of a Website Vary by Industry?
Given the fact that mobile searches have already surpassed desktop searches on Google, it is quite clear that the mobile platform is the future. This might be the core reason why Google introduced the new algorithm update popularly touted as “Mobilegeddon” in the first place. Although the mobile platform is embraced by users worldwide, mobile web and mobile SEO are not fully welcomed by each industry evenly.
There was a significant difference between each industry when considering the percentage of mobile-friendly sites in their top 10 keyword positions. Keywords from the Retail industry registered a greater percentage of mobile-friendly pages within their top 10 results while the Transportation industry remained at the bottom of the pool. However, Healthcare, Insurance, and Travel/Hospitality niches weren’t too far behind in terms of adapting mobile-friendly features.
Mobile is the Future!
According to Internet Live Stats, there are little over 963 million websites worldwide while the number of mobile devices clocked to over 7.7 billion by the end of 2014. Organisations and individuals are betting big on the apparently promising future of mobile Internet. In the US alone, people are spending more time on smartphones or tablets than on TVs or any other device (excluding Desktop), finds out the mobile analytical company Flurry. On average, a user spends nearly 3 hours and 45 minutes each day on his mobile devices. This is a 63 percent jump as compared to a year-ago period.
Many webmasters have already begun developing responsive websites to offer a better user experience across all devices. Out of 200 factors responsible for search engine rankings on Google, user-friendliness is one of the key factors and the most webmasters, as well as search engine gurus, have already warned everyone about the risks of not having a responsive website. However, with the announcement of “Mobilegeddon”, Google has officiated such warnings by introducing “Mobile-friendliness” of a website as one of the ranking signals that help determine top SERPs.
To motivate webmasters around the globe, Google initiated the process by introducing “Mobile-friendly” tag on mobile search results and later on announced the “Mobilegeddon” two months prior to its release. Such an early announcement actually offered enough time for webmasters to update their website into a clean mobile-friendly ones.
If you’re yet confused about what Google means by a mobile-friendly website then you must read the instructions or criteria that Google follows to determine whether your website is mobile-friendly or not.
Other than just improving your search engine traffic, the mobile-friendliness of your website can also be helpful in improving the user experience of the traffic generated from mobile devices. With the rising population of mobile users worldwide, it will be unwise not to optimize your website for Smartphones and Tablet devices.
Some helpful tips based on the report:
- Don’t use Flash or any other program that is not mobile-friendly as it may result in a drop in rankings for your website.
- Create a responsive website instead of offering different versions for mobile and desktop.
- Developing a mobile app, especially, for the Android platform could come in handy in the future.
- Use fonts that are readable while surfing the website on desktops or mobile devices.
Great post Rajeesh, Google is trying to create better user experience by forcing websites to be mobile-friendly.