SEO rules are always evolving. But this time, Google means business.

It seems every time you turn around, the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) landscape is changing. Coinciding with some hip Google update name like Panda, Penguin or Pigeon. Most of the time, these animalistic updates tweak Google’s algorithm for how they look at your website’s keywords. Not to be ignored, but also not groundbreaking.

This isn’t the case with Google’s upcoming release.

While we don’t yet know its name, it’s looking more and more like it’s going to pack a major shift in how Google ranks and displays websites. Specifically, websites that are not optimized for mobile devices. In order to understand how this update could affect your website, we need to take a look at what SEO really is and why it is important, what Google values, and what you can do about it.

Why SEO is so important

SEO is the process of making your site rank on a search engine (like Google, Yahoo or Bing) for a specific keyword or phrase. The effects of ranking highly on a search engine are very beneficial. Let’s look at a keyword like legal services. Monthly, this word is searched for 6,600 times. The average click-through-rate (the ratio of clicks to impressions of an online ad or email marketing campaign) for the top three Google search ranking spots is 30%, 14%, and 10%. This means if you rank in the top three spots, you could potentially gain 1,980, 924, or 660 new visitors/customers a month for this keyword. These are consumers who remember your brand next time they need legal services, or who will talk about you positively with their friends on social media.


Here's how your site may look if its not "mobile-friendly". Your page title will be blacked out and not clickable.

What Google values

Google is constantly evolving, and so we all need to evolve with them. As they release updates, we begin determining what the best practices are. Google recently announced their biggest adjustment yet: ranking mobile-friendly websites. Taking place on April 21, Google will now rank your site differently if it isn’t “mobile friendly.” Suddenly, effective SEO has evolved from simply making changes on your site to requiring major changes in the structure of your site. The way to get ahead in this new SEO world is to constantly evaluate, conduct research, and performing tests so you can see what works with regard to your industry and audience.

How to stay ahead

To stay ahead, you’ll want to make sure your site is mobile friendly at the very least — or even fully responsive. You have a few options. The first is creating a mobile site. This option will involve creating a completely separate domain for mobile users. You’ll want to make sure that every page of your desktop site has a corresponding mobile version. This is key.

The second option will be Dynamic Serving. This technique detects what device a site visitor is using to view your site, and then redirects them at the server level. This is a more technical approach and can require a good amount of assistance.

The third option and Google’s favorite is responsive design. Responsive design determines the resolution of the screen on which a page is being viewed using media queries, then adjusts the size and layout of the page appropriately.

With the algorithm changes just around the corner, it’s vital you consider a mobile solution and address any deficiencies as soon as possible to maintain your rankings. For more on “mobile-friendly” and “responsive” sites, see our previous Click article, Responsive vs. Mobile-Friendly: What’s the Difference?

What now?

SEO is an ever-changing landscape. Sometimes it’s a shift in keyword trends or a change in how Google treats links. But SEO is constantly moving in a new direction. This latest update from Google is focused on providing mobile users the most mobile-friendly search results. Google’s update makes sense in a world that is becoming increasingly dependent on mobile devices. We can see the direction Google is headed with this update and it’s only going to continue. If your website relies on mobile organic traffic, this update is one that means business for you.

See if your website will be affected — Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

To see how mobile friendly your site is, you can run it through the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. This test will show you any issues or errors, plus how you can go about fixing them.

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