Why the change? Ultimately, the move reflects how people are using the Internet. Mobile is being used for everything from searches to banking, and not just while people are on the go. As Google notes, in the US, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones; 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work.
The latest data from the Pew Internet Project showed that 64% of American adults own a smartphone. Similarly, comScore reported 60% of Internet traffic is from mobile devices. These numbers are consistent with AVG’s own research conducted with MEF (Mobile Economic Forum) and findings that the move to mobile commerce and content is only going up.
So, what makes a website or page “mobile-friendly”? Since most of us have experienced unfriendly mobile sites, it’s pretty easy to assess at one glance.
The criteria, which Google spelled out last fall when it began calling out “mobile friendly” sites and setting the stage for the current change, includes:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped. “
You can find more details here.
You also can check to see if your own site is mobile-friendly with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test or check the status of your entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools. Be prepared. You may be in for a surprise.
While savvy tech companies have been anticipating Google’s change, the impact will no doubt be felt among small businesses that don’t always have the resources to respond to technology changes quickly. And a change in search ranking is one that can have a huge impact on their business!
Experts are predicting that sites that aren’t mobile friendly will see a dramatic fall-off in page hits and localized searches (i.e., foot traffic). In fact, that’s why analysts have taken to calling the change in rather dramatic terms, such as “Mobilegeddon.”
So what to do if you are a small business owner? You’re website has to go mobile!
Fortunately there are a lot more options available than ever before for easily creating new and mobile friendly websites that don’t require spending a lot of money. Among some of the most popular website building resources are SquareSpace , Wix and Weebly. You can see a comparison review of the tools here.
Once your website becomes mobile-friendly, Google says it will automatically re-evaluate your pages. Google also advises that you can expedite the process by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index to get a mobile-friendly ranking.
The Google move is another reminder that as the world goes increasingly mobile, it presents new challenges and opportunities. But, it’s not only in the way we present our web pages, but also in many aspects of how we do business – including an evolution of how we secure the data and protect the privacy of our mobile customers. The latter is a matter of consumer trust, which is paramount for businesses in today’s mobile world and why we at AVG are committed to helping businesses do so.