In an announcement on March 16, 2016, Google said that they will add a boost to their mobile-friendly algorithm starting in May 2016. If you have been following the direction Google has been going in the last few years, this announcement comes as no surprise. Google made its first clear move in this direction in April 2015 when it began actively rewarding websites in mobile search if they were mobile-friendly. The algorithm assesses the mobile friendliness of each page on a website and ranks them in search accordingly. If you have stayed up-to-date by adding mobile friendliness to your website, then you will not see many changes this go-around. However, this trend will continue going forward because it is clear that mobile has become the powerhouse in the future of search.
What is Google Looking For?
There are essentially two ways that your site can be mobile-friendly. You can have a responsive site, or you can have an alternative mobile site. Either choice is fine with Google, as long as mobile users can easily access and navigate your site. Depending on the size of your site, either choice may be a better option for you. While mobile responsiveness means that your main website will adjust in size for varying screen sizes, some large companies prefer having a separate site for mobile users. The decision of which solution to use is up to you, your website designers and marketing team. However, if you have chosen to refrain from making updates to your site to make it easy to use for mobile viewers, you will continue to lose traffic and revenues. Google search is already rewarding mobile-friendly sites by pushing them up in search now. This trend is becoming even more distinct with the boost starting in May.
This latest update will be a slow rollout. Google has not said whether slow means days or months. However, since this rollout has to examine every page on a site to be complete, chances are "months" is the right answer. You can test your website for mobile friendliness by using the official Google Developers Mobile-Friendly Test. Google's Mobile-Friendly Guide can answer more questions about what mobile friendliness is.
If you are not familiar with the history of mobile search, the primary statistic you need to know is that mobile search bypassed desktop search in 2014 and continues to grow. Consumers have adopted the mobile search mechanism rapidly. As Millennials and Generation Z (generation after Millennials) grow up, businesses will see adults who have grown up using mobile technology. The trend for mobile search may have begun in the B2C sector, but it has clearly entered B2B industries as well. B2B companies can no longer wait to adopt mobile-friendly technology because their customers are working on tablets and smartphones in the office and the field. Many B2B buyers are using chat and social media to communicate with their sales reps. If your company's site is not yet mobile-friendly; you are already behind the bandwagon on this project.
To Get Started
Start by looking at Google's Mobile-Friendly Guide and work from there. Check your own metrics to see where your customers are searching from and what percentage of your leads and sales come from mobile devices.