Analytics tip – Google boosts mobile-friendly websites in search

Yesterday, Google announced on their Official Webmaster Central Blog two important changes to their search algorithm that will make it easier for users to find mobile-friendly content.

1) Google boosts mobile-friendly sites in search rankings

Google boosts mobile-friendly websites in search rankingsStarting April 21, Google is adjusting their search ranking signal to give weight to mobile-friendly websites for searchers worldwide. Their goal is to make it easier for users on mobile devices to find relevant and useful information and receive high quality search results.

This is great news for searchers. Why? Let’s say you’re searching for bus schedules from your iPhone. There are a lot of websites that curate this information. If you click one of the search results and the site has not been optimized to be easily read and interacted with from your iPhone, you’re quickly going to become frustrated and seek another site.

Google’s in the game of giving you the highest quality results, so the last thing they want to do is serve you a poor, frustrating user experience. By giving mobile-friendliness weight in Google’s search algorithm, a mobile-friendly website for bus schedules will list higher in the SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages) than a non-mobile friendly site, increasing the likelihood you’ll receive an easy and enjoyable, optimized mobile experience.

What does Google’s boost to mobile-friendliness mean for your website?

In a nutshell – it’s time for a mobile-friendly website. Google will rank mobile-friendly websites over non-friendly websites on the same topic, so if you care about search rankings (and you better), now is the time to deliver an optimized mobile experience to users on every device. (Check out our tips for building a mobile-friendly website). If you’re a webmaster, Google recommends you use the following tools to test the mobile-friendliness of your website:

•  To test a few pages, use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
•  If you have a site, use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

2) Google returns mobile application content in search rankings

This update starts today. Google added indexed app content as a factor in SERP’s for users who both download and are signed into the app. Content from these apps is more prominently displayed in search for those users.

For example, let’s say you have the Zillow app. You search rentals in New York City in Google, and instead of giving priority to the million home and realtor websites available online, Google will favor results from your Zillow app.

What does Google’s adding app content to search results mean for your app?

Google-Indexes-App-Content-in-Search-RankingsThis is great news for your company’s mobile app. By displaying your app content more prominently in SERP’s, you’ll have more opportunities to engage and interact with your user base. Your app will become a more regular resource, increasing the value you provide customers.

Your app is not automatically indexed by Google to allow content from deep within to display in search listings. You’ll need to add deep link support, specify how to reach content within your app, and a few additional actions. Google lays it all out in this step-by-step guide on their developer site to implement App indexing.

Mobile’s NOT just for the cool kids

Google’s updates to more prominently display mobile-friendly websites and include mobile app content in search rankings only cements what we’ve been saying for a long time.Your mobile audience is rapidly growing. A mobile-friendly website and mobile apps ensure you deliver the best user experience to your audience, everywhere they are and from every device.

In all honesty, the jump into mobile sounds more scary than it is. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or interest going mobile. In the meantime, hit the ground running – you have until April 21 to optimize your site for mobile users or your organic traffic might suffer.