Transaction, information and communication - mobile devices are now firmly anchored in our everyday lives, both privately and professionally. Nowadays we can find the whole world of the internet in our jacket pocket for our needs at any time. More than ever, the mobile use of the Internet reflects what we do, supports us in our everyday life and digitizes many areas of our lives as a matter of course.
“Search” is one of the most important activities on a smartphoneAccording to AGOF eV / Internet Facts
are the five most popular areas of Internet use e-mail correspondence, online shopping, news about world events and search engine queries on Google & Co. on the mobile little helper. If you even ask about the main functions of a smartphone, 78.3% of those surveyed stated that they searched using a search engine. This puts the Internet search in second place of the main functions of a smartphone, right behind the telephone function with 79.9%.
It can therefore be said that the search for information is one of the most popular applications of a smartphone and that many excursions into the vastness of the Internet begin right here. And not just on the go. Many users use their smartphone in addition to their stationary computer. The smartphone is also on the couch - just like on the go - immediately ready to search for and retrieve information.
What is not found does not exist
But not only statistical numbers are reason enough for website or shop operators to think about "mobile marketing" and "mobile content". From April 21, 2015, Google will only deliver search engine results from websites on mobile devices whose display quality meets mobile standards.
Many websites and shop operators will not only lose website visits and online sales as a result - the phrase "What Google doesn't find doesn't exist or isn't important enough" will be strengthened in the long term. Because people who are already used to carrying the accumulated knowledge and content of the entire world with them "now and here" could now come to exactly this conclusion even faster and, above all, more sustainably.
What exactly will change?
With the "Google mobile-friendly" update on April 21, 2015, signals that indicate optimization for mobile devices are rated positively as a ranking factor for mobile search queries. Conversely, unoptimized content of a URL is significantly devalued. According to Google, no separate search index is created for mobile users.
In the future, search engine results will therefore depend on whether the end device used for the search can also correctly display the website found on mobile devices. If the site is not optimized for mobile devices, it may not be listed at all or only at the bottom.
Additional label in search engine results
Search results from optimized content will soon be shown on the search engine results page (SERP) with an additional label as "mobile-friendly". In this way, the user knows before they click that they can easily view the following content on their mobile device. However, possible display problems can also be communicated in this additional label. However, this certainly doesn't help searchers bring up those search results. However, since previous updates also give clear signals of relevance to the views of search results and user behavior on the websites visited and these contribute to the further ranking, these "behavioural signals" could also have an influence on the overall ranking of a website.
These developments in the "mobile-friendly" approach are not new. In November 2014 there was already a message about the new labels in the Google webmaster blog.
Half a year earlier, as a user of the Google webmaster tools, you already found a function that gives website operators information about whether the user-friendliness of their own website for mobile devices is generally problematic or not. The page speed tool was also specially adapted for mobile requirements and the mobile display was evaluated differently. In February 2015, the massive search algorithm change was then officially communicated in the Google webmaster blog. The procedure shows that Google is very serious about this update and that extensive changes are to be expected.
What now? Find optimization potential and observe criteria
As with any optimization, it is first important to know whether anything needs to be optimized at all. This results in the “what and how”. Users of the Google webmaster tools can get initial and basic information on this under the "Ease of use on mobile devices" function. As an alternative to the function in the webmaster tools, Google provides a special test page .
Absolute no-gos for mobile devices are in any case: - Incompatible plugins, such as Adobe Flash content that cannot be viewed on all mobile phones. - No definition of a mobile viewport or responsive layout, requiring users to scroll, zoom and move content - Large interstitials (ad breaks) when the website is called up. Inline banners should be used here in the future - Navigation links that are too small and too close together and as a result cannot be optimally operated via touch gestures - Text that is not suitable for the resolution and display size of mobile devices because it is displayed too small - Content that loads slowly or blocks other content. This reduces the performance and thus the usability of the site for mobile devices. For indications of such problems, you should consult the Page Speed Insights</ a> - Missing notices about mobile-optimized content. This is a problem that is easy to solve, since Google only has to be correctly made aware of the existing mobile-optimized content - CSS styles (Cascading Style Sheets, which define the presentation of the website) and Java scripts that have been excluded from indexing - e.g. via robots.txt. Google must be able to index these files in order to be able to draw conclusions about the display quality. - Incorrect and irrelevant redirects, redirects to desktop content or 404 error pages caused by misconfigured user agents
How should website operators and companies react?
As a website owner, always remember to make life easier for your users. To do this, present relevant content optimally and purposefully on all end devices for continuous usability. Keywords are here Mobile-first and responsive design.
By the way, this applies to all pages of all websites that you own. For example, it is not enough to simply create an optimized landing page and then refer to content from the desktop version from there. Conversely, individual non-optimized start pages for country and language selection of international online shops can also pose a problem for the search engine results.
As a website operator, use the webmaster tools or the test pages offered to get information about optimization measures. Google offers special tips for some CMS systems on the help pages that have been set up.</ a>
For new website projects, you should consistently implement your content in responsive design so that mobile devices, different platforms and display resolutions are easily supported.
If your existing websites cannot be optimized with relatively little effort and no mobile version of your site is offered, then you should consider this Google update as a reason to rebuild your websites in a responsive design. Alternatively, you can of course also offer a specially optimized mobile version parallel to the desktop version, which - properly configured and recognized - will be listed in mobile search engine results as an alternative to the desktop version.
The quality of the mobile display and the technology is even more important than before. Just like the content quality of a website, they play an essential role for SEO and online marketing. Winners in online marketing address all these aspects and inspire your visitors technically and in terms of content on every device. You become a loser simply because you are no longer noticed and no one has the leisure to deal with irrelevant and poorly functioning content.