Details released by Google webmaster trends analyst, Gary Illyes, at the Pubcon Digital Marketing conference (Las Vegas, October 2016), suggest that Google is planning to split its search index into two separate versions. A primary updated version for mobile and a secondary desktop version, which will be updated less frequently. The change is indicated to take place early 2017 and will ensure users searching via mobile get the most relevant and up to date search results.
Data released by Google in May 2015, highlighted that more website searches happen on mobile devices than desktop. Many older web pages do not display well, if at all on mobile. In an attempt to improve user experience, mobile friendly pages will take priority for searches performed on mobile devices. This update is just one of many designed to encourage mobile friendly websites. Earlier this year Google updated search functionality, giving priority to mobile friendly websites in the search results.
Google will be giving priority in the search engine results page (SERP) to those websites that are mobile friendly (either have a dedicated mobile site or are responsive). If your website is not mobile friendly then it is probably already being impacted in search results and this is likely to get worse, once this next update is deployed in early 2017. Meanwhile, mobile friendly websites are likely to benefit from higher ranking search results receiving more page visits and desired customer actions (online sales/conversions).
Ranking well in search results without being mobile friendly, is likely to become increasingly difficult, if not impossible. The best solution for website owners is to make use of a responsive framework such as bootstrap to ensure the website scales well across all devices.
In addition to the website being mobile friendly, to rank well in Google results the site should load quickly, make content visible by scrolling up or down (not sideways) and have clear and obvious call to action buttons. There are several options for upgrading to a responsive website depending on the organisation’s situation. OneClick can advise on options suitable to make your website compliant and ensure your website sales/conversions continue to grow.