No SEO Surprise
At the Search Marketing Expo East conference a Google engineer emphasized mobile experience (as a ranking factor). Since mobile adoption has exponentially grown in recent years, this is really not an SEO surprise. Even so, let’s examine mobile experience as it relates to managing a website.
Big Push for Little Screens
According to Search Engine Land’s (SEL) October article on mobile experience as a ranking factor, Google stressed this point repeatedly at SMX East. Webmasters were strongly encouraged to focus on how a website renders for the small(er) screen. So much so that it announced in May that via Webmaster Tools it’s able to fully render web pages both in desktop mode and Google mode.
Fetch as Google
This means there’s no excuse for Webmasters not to understand how a website is visually represented to a Google bot. It’s as easy as putting in a URL in the “Fetch as Google” function. You’ll find it from the Google Webmaster dashboard => Crawl => Fetch as Google.
Mobile Responsive Not Separate Mobile Site
Having a mobile responsive website is becoming the norm. Some companies are still maintaining a separate mobile website from their main site. You’ve probably guessed that is an old practice on its way out. HTML5 and mobile-responsive themes are now must-haves when redesigning/relaunching a website.
Part of the Google Ranking Algorithm?
What better way to motivate website owners/managers to pay attention to mobile user experience than to give them SEO brownie points. A Google spokesperson told SEL:
“Because at Google we are aiming to provide a great user experience on any device, we’re making a big push to ensure the search results we deliver reflect this principle. We want users to be able to enjoy the web wherever they are.”
Consider these statistics from a Google study:
- 61% of users are unlikely to return to a website if they had trouble access it via their mobile device
- 50% of the U.S.’s population has a mobile device
- Most mobile device users browse websites
Is Mobile Experience as a Ranking Factor, Yet?
No. Google is hinting at it. Google is encouraging Webmasters to monitor how a site behaves… page speed, quality content, etc… I think we’re still in the educational stage. Most likely they are working on and testing new pieces of code in the algorithm. My guess is that we’ll hear more about this issue. Who knows maybe there will be a new animal name to add to the algo collection.
What would you name a change to Google’s algorithm to reward mobile experience as a ranking factor? What do you think about “Cheetah?”
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