Mark the date please. 21st April 2015. Calling all webmasters and online marketing specialists to watch how rankings are destroyed and appraised by Google on this day. But what is so special about it? You might have heard of the new Mobile Responsive update that Google is making on April 21st, 2015, right? There are a lot of rumors surrounding it. Google has given more importance than ever to having a responsive website. Now, the search engine is considering it very seriously, and will launch an algo update affecting all those websites that are not responsive.
Responsive web design has been for around 3 years, but this is the first time that Google has taken an action specifically targeting sites not being responsive. So what is in it for you? We have done our research and came up with 5 important points that you need to know about this update:
1. Your site will be severely affected following this update
Cutting the suspense, if your website is already doing well for smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers, there is not much to worry apart from just refreshing your website. But, if your site is lacking a responsive design and it is hard for your visitors to browse it on their smartphones and tablets, then get ready for a sudden dip in the traffic. We have no exact idea what Google will do with the traffic for 21st April update and how much of it will be affected, but based upon previous experiences, it is pretty clear that sites are deprived of rankings and traffic if they are attacked by a penalty. Moreover, it is anticipated that this update will be a bigger one than the usual Panda and Penguin updates we have been seeing in the past.
2. How much mobile rankings will be affected?
Not clear though, but surely those sites will suffer that are not optimized for tablets and smaller screens. The change might be more for Android than iOS devices, or it could be equal either. We believe that this could be more for Android devices since that is where Google holds the entire operating system of smartphones and tablets. But how much of iOS devices will be impacted is still unclear. You know Google plays smart and keeps experts in the dark for exact figures until the algorithm update hits hard.
Search queries will be getting more and more importance, especially from the smartphone users. For mobile phones, there is an answer box where Google scrapes up relevant information from the net and show up. Moreover, at first there were 10 organic search results, but now, Google has been aggressive with sponsored results which means lesser than 10 organic results. The top results for TV shows, hotels, restaurants, etc. are sponsored, pushing down the organic results way down. This means more money for Google. Google is also doing this update in order to increase its revenue from Adwords, its leading source of revenue.
3. OK, so how do I figure out if my site complies with Google’s requirements ?
Relax, don’t panic. Head over to the Mobile-Friendliness tool created by Google that will scan your entire URL and provide you with recommendations whether or not it is mobile-ready. We are glad to state that our OverTheTopSEO blog is mobile-ready. If you get a message like “Awesome! This Page is mobile-friendly”, then there is nothing much for you to worry about. However, it is highly advisable to consult a web development company and have them go through each URL and page of your website to make sure that it is all set to face the update on 21st April, 2015.
4. Should a smartphone app be important for me?
A smartphone app isn’t a must but highly preferable to develop your strong brand identity in today’s digital era. If you have a budget for both, go ahead and make Android and iOS apps for your website, but do not replicate the entire website onto these apps. Instead, it would be better to include some functions of your website that are most common and interesting for your readers. We strongly suggest you to have a mobile app developed for your business as it is a long run asset for your company, however you should only have one website that is responsive in nature for all smartphones and tablets.
5. Why is Google doing all of this?
Google wants a better world wide web to serve its users. There are plenty of Goals that Google wants to achieve, but through this update, the most specific objective is to provide better browsing experience for mobile users and show them exactly the results that they want. These guidelines and goals are in turn done to favor websites that have spent consistent time in maintaining their hard-earned brand image online.
But nothing motivates Google than making money. Having better rankings for apps and recommending app development for Android allows Google to monetize the content downloaded through its Play store.
You might not know about this, but the fact is that Google Play store is already in testing phases for iOS devices, with only the cloud music storage options and features. We expect Google to expand in the long run so that it also captures market share from iOS devices and starts competing against its one and only big competitor, Apple. When exactly that would happen is not sure, but expect it to take place anytime within the next few years from now. Google invests in future technology and sees far ahead of the most tech giants in the industry who just look out for money and profits.
Although there are many more points that you need to know regarding the 21st April, 2015 mobile update, these are the most basic ones that you need to understand. Just focus on having your website responsive to be safeguarded from the upcoming algorithmic update.