Half Measures Won’t Cut It with Google’s Mobile Friendly Line in the Sand
On April 21st, 2015 Google will begin dinging sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. If your current web site, regardless of how recently you may have updated it or what platform it’s based on, isn’t device responsive / mobile friendly by this date, your site will be downgraded for organic search results. My hunch is that not long behind this are sites that are connected to google ads will, too. And my other hunch is that as Google goes, so go other search engines.
So, yes, if you’ve just spent money on redesigning or building a new site, if it’s not responsive, you’re behind an 8 ball in terms of search. And yes, if you’re site was developed before the advent of device responsive coding, you’re there as well.
So… what to do?
First, you can test your site out to see if it is mobile friendly. Go to: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and Google will let you know if your site is or isn’t up to snuff. And yes, even some sites that are “device responsive” can fail this test if some links and other elements aren’t in line with Google’s requirements.
Next, if your site passes, great. You’re good to go. If not, then you’ll need to get the ball rolling ASAP on upgrading and redesigning your site to meet the new requirements. Don’t panic. If you fail the test and you can’t get a new site in place by the 21st, it’s not like you’ll be black-balled. You will, however, lose ground you may have fought hard to gain over time in terms of organic results. It’s a pill you’ll need to swallow as it’s already late in the game, and deal with that until you can get a new site out there.
Don’t take half measures. I had a friend contact me about this last week. She was adamant that she was not going to take down her current site, which fails the test. She wanted to create a mobile site that the main site could redirect to. This strategy worked 2 or 3 years ago. But when the 21st comes, if you’ve still got you main site online and it’s not compliant, then you’ll begin to be penalized either way. Not good. So don’t go to a half measure or outdated strategy. It just won’t work or benefit you over the long haul.
Get the site redesigned or cloned so it is device responsive. Then go one of two paths. 1) Bite the bullet and get the entire site launched with all content present, understanding that in the short term you’ll lose some ground in search ranking while you get it developed – if it can’t be launched by the 21st (a long shot at this point anyway). 2) Determine what content you absolutely need in place and replace your full site with a new, responsive site. Then over time roll in all of the remaining content. This way, you might see a smaller impact than if you leave the full, non-mobile-friendly site in place while creating your new site.
This is going to happen. Think about what you’re willing to accept in terms of search performance over the short and long term. Then make a move. If you need help in bringing your current site into compliance, give us a call at 503.629.8674.