This week Google made changes to their search algorithms (automatic procedures that rate and rank a website, and determine the page’s position in search results). The changes apply to searches made from mobile devices (smart phones). Mobile-friendly pages will appear above other results in search rankings, where searches are made on a smart phone.
Why is this important?
Google is the way most people find their way to your site. Of all the people who find your site through a web search, about two thirds will come via Google. How many people do you know who go to websites by entering the site name into Google? Have you done that yourself?
A lot of time is spent studying the click through rate (CTR) of major search engines like Google (here’s one CTR Case Study). A rough guide is that of all searches over 50% of users click through to the top three ranked results. If your site starts slipping down the rankings you will start to see the number of visits to your site dropping.
Additionally there is an increasing trend in the use of mobile devices to access the web. Google’s changes reflect the fact that more and more searches take place on smartphones and other mobile devices. If Google takes searchers to sites that are badly designed for mobile viewing, users may no longer trust their recommendations and migrate to another search engine.
This is all taking us into what is traditionally seen as the murky sub-world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), analysing how Google and other search engines view websites and updating website design and content in response. (Here’s a helpful and well-structured introductory guide to Search Engine Optimization).
SEO covers a lot of aspects of content development and website design, so it’s a topic we’ll be blogging about again. This recent, and major, change from Google is a good time to start making a few steps into SEO territory and understanding the main concepts.
Does this affect your site?
- This online tool https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ will tell you if Google thinks your site is mobile friendly.
- With Google Analytics you can look at your web traffic and see how many of your visitors are currently viewing your site from a mobile device.
It may be that at the moment you are not receiving a lot of visits from mobile phone users (but this might be something you want to encourage in future). If you’re worried about the results please contact us and we’ll take time to review your site and suggest actions you can take.
Should I be concerned about SEO?
Do you want your site to be a shop front for your organisation, to attract people to your service, to become volunteers, or just give you money? Then an SEO strategy can help make the major search engines see your site is seen as relevant and trusted, and push you to the top of search result pages.
As I said we’ll look at how you can make this happen (and measure your progress) in future posts.
For more information about this change Google’s webmaster tools blog is a good place to look for more technical details..