Following the launch of “mobile-friendly” labels in November 2014, Google last week announced that from April 21st they will use this classification as a ranking factor in their search algorithm. This means sites with an improved mobile user experience will be given added weighting in their rankings.
This is a logical step: the growth of mobile traffic compared to desktop browsing shows no sign of relenting. The change is an expansion on the mobile ranking demotion first laid out in 2013.
It is clearer than ever that if you do not pass Google’s mobile test then you will be demoted in mobile searches. Meanwhile, mobile friendly competitors will improve their positioning.
What this means for Magento merchants
Google wants websites that provide a solid mobile user experience to rank high. It is rare for Google to pre-warn users of an algorithm change. This announcement can be seen as a concerted effort to improve user experience across the search network and the internet as a whole.
If you haven’t invested in a responsive or adaptive website, you’re in danger of being left behind. There are two types of build you should consider when looking to improve your mobile user experience:
- Responsive design – a website that will fluidly change and respond to fit any screen.
- Adaptive design – achieved through designing to fit a predetermined set of screen or device sizes.
With the the April 21st deadline pressing, adaptive is the quick win for Magento users, with an adaptive template forming part of version 1.7+ on Magento Community Edition.
However, if you're going to invest in a mobile solution, then responsive is a better long term investment - with more flexibility, a better user experience and favour with Google.
How do I check?
To check if you pass Google’s mobile friendly test, run your website through the official mobile friendly test tool.
Pass or fail, Yoma can help
If you have passed, that’s great news. But that doesn’t mean you should stop there.
Studies have shown that sales conversion rates on mobiles are much lower than for tablets and desktop computers. If you’re finding that’s the case for you, then there is still work to do. We can help you optimise your site so that more browsers become buyers.
If you failed, it’s time to address your mobile void before you miss the boat.