You’ve written some great content. You’ve created something unique, valuable, and insightful. Keywords are in place, social media links have been posted, and you’re bracing yourself for an influx of new visitors.
So… where are they?
This is the nightmare scenario facing many bloggers and content marketers from 21st April this year, as Google promise (or threaten) to deliver the biggest change in their index ever.
More websites were accessed from mobile phones and tablets last year than from desktop PCs and laptops. Google are taking this trend into account by updating their mobile search index to demote any sites that are, in their view, not “mobile-friendly”.
To put this into context, a mobile-friendly site is one that’s responsive. This means that it resizes (or “degrades”) gracefully onto a small mobile phone screen. It includes no technology, like Flash, that might prevent it from working properly on a mobile device. A responsive website with no plug-in requirements should always be identified as mobile-friendly.
If you’re wondering why Google would do this to all us hard-working website owners, the answer can be found in the future not of Google, but of Bing and Apple.
Google are running towards the end of their deal with Apple to be the default search provider for iOS and iPhone, and Microsoft are working hard to see Bing appointed as Google’s replacement. Although the iPhone has a falling market share, its user-base are still amongst the highest spenders online. In 2014, more money was spent via mobiles by Apple users than from any other platform, even though they accounted for less than 20% of the mobile phone market at the time. Google don’t want to lose their position as the people who put lucrative mobile adverts in front of the mobile internet’s top spenders. So, cleaning up the index to ensure that they aren’t pushing users to sites that give iPhone users a bad experience is a good move.
The short news is – if you’re working with a theme on your blog or website that doesn’t conform to this requirement, the clock really is ticking for you to upgrade or update your look and feel before Google’s “mobile index apocalypse”.