Mobile Friendly Websites?

Guest post from one of our associates – Nigel Stevenson

I’m going to concentrate on the present big issue with website design …

“Mobile friendliness will affect how prominently websites appear in Google search results pages from 21 April”
(source: www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32380223)

True? In this blog I look at…

• Local v National search results
• Why go mobile friendly?
• The stats
• Can mobile users still see my old pages?
• What’s the cost of converting my old website to ‘Google Mobile Friendly’
• How do I know my new (or old) website is ‘Google Mobile Friendly’?

My colleagues and I have been monitoring this massive shift in Google’s search technology and I must admit to a minor fit when first announced not only because of the impact it would have on you as a client but the possible workload ‘spike!

Initial thoughts
In slowing down to a panic and monitoring a benchmark set of client’s positions on Google we came to the following conclusions…

Local v National searches

National searches (from mobile devices using the Google App), will be influenced by this new algorithm, in fact if you use the Google App on your mobile phone to search for services you will see a grey text legend next to some listings saying ‘Mobile-Friendly’.
With a higher percentage of websites now conforming to Google’s new requirements, the UK’s top search engine can be more picky giving preference to ‘Mobile-Friendly’ web pages.

Local searches appear to be delivering different results, probably because Google can see by adding ‘Kent’ or a ‘town name’ (to the search string) the result totals are less so delivering a ‘Mobile-Friendly’ website could deplete depth of results.

Try this test – search on Google using your desktop device (not logged into Google) – Search – “builders in East Kent”

Builders in East Kent

First 3 pages profile the following !! OHM designs (none are Google Mobile Friendly)

Page 1
www.byford-construction.co.uk
www.pahollingworth.co.uk (ex-client but still using our SEO)
www.jakaye-builders-southeastkent.co.uk
www.ebc-ltd.co.uk

Page 2
www.stevensonbuilders.co.uk
www.teynhamconstruction.co.uk
www.joinerbuilders.co.uk

Page 3
www.totalcleaningsouth.co.uk (cleaning service for builders)

The same search on a mobile phone…
(using HTC M8, Google App, WiFi connected, GPRS on)…

Page 1
www.pahollingworth.co.uk
www.byford-construction.co.uk
www.jakaye-builders-southeastkent.co.uk

Page 2
www.ebc-ltd.co.uk
www.stevensonbuilders.co.uk
www.teynhamconstruction.co.uk
www.joinerbuilders.co.uk

Page 3
www.totalcleaningsouth.co.uk

In conclusion Google’s new mobile friendly algorithm doesn’t appear to be influencing traditionally built older websites on local searches (yet).
So why go mobile friendly?
It’s a great call and one we’ve been bouncing around for a few months.

Graph 1
The graph showing the increase in mobile phone use …

Image from Morgan Stanley Research

 

 

 

The stats
94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones (source Google, USA).
77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work (source Google, USA).
Offcom stats – http://media.ofcom.org.uk/facts/ – massive increase in 4G use.
Mobile use on the increase http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/ .

It’s obvious from these stats that mobile devices are being used more and more for everyday tasks which includes web searches so it makes sense to make your web platform more mobile friendly.

Can mobile users still see my old pages?

Yes, and (as above) the local search results do not appear to be affected.

What do you suggest Nigel?

First of all, don’t panic! The vast majority of our clients use local search terms with their trade keywords therefore you are unlikely to be affected by this change (at the moment). Try the same test I did for “builders in East Kent” using your trade and geographical search terms and see the results – send me the results

What’s the cost of converting my old website to ‘Google Mobile Friendly’

Phones

About 50% compared with a new design as we are using existing content already on our systems.

In addition you also get a great package…

• Update all pages yourself – text content, images etc
• Post news and special offers yourself
• Change SEO content on every page yourself (NEW)
• Add slide shows (FOC as part of a re-design)
• Add contact forms (FOC as part of a re-design)
• Integrate with Social Media pages (FOC as part of a re-design)
• Google Mobile Verified pages
• Future proof

Sample conversion
Esther (Elite Beauty) called last month asking for some changes to her web pages, I explained the Google Mobile issue so she agreed to convert.

Old site: www.oasthousemedia.co.uk/sample_old
New Mobile Friendly site: www.elitebeautyuk.co.uk

Esther’s feedback “Yay it looks sooooo good!!! And on a phone as well x thank u so so much for changing all the little bits and getting it to where it’s perfect x x I love it”

Mobile test

How do I know my new (or old) website is ‘Google Mobile Friendly’?

Click on this links and add your web address: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Remember this, Google is being nice to old pages at the moment but do not be surprised if they axe none mobile friendly pages from their listings as the global giant strives to deliver a better product.

Nigel Stevenson is Director of Oast House Media (01304 369 440 :: 07931 376 255)
He is also an Associate of The Centre for Micro Business.
Oast House Media Specialise in: Website Design :: Search Engine Optimisation :: Logo Design :: Print Design

 

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