Google gives priority in search to mobile friendly websites

Photo credit: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 via photopin (license)

You may have noticed in your Google Analytics that in most cases the number of mobile users of your website users now exceeds the number of desktop users. If your website is not mobile friendly this means that more than half your website audience will have a poor online visitor experience. 
Since April 2015 Google has started prioritising mobile-ready websites in its search results. The change has affected mobile searches in all languages worldwide. It also has a significant impact on all Google search results.  Some analysts called this change in their algorithm the "mobilegeddon" of Google. [1]
Web design considerations - "mobile only" versus "responsive" design
There are a couple of things to think about when considering the options of a mobile only website and what we call a "responsive website" which enables your site to auto resize to the right screen size whether that's a tablet or mobile (portrait or landscape view) and a desktop.
Given how web users switch between a mobile, tablet and desktop, a responsive site is a better long term solution and is likely to lead to less updates for different browsers, but as you're having to design for 5 screen types, it’s more expensive.  Building a mobile only website may be cheaper in the short run but is likely to need more updating.
Google has prepared some recommendations [2] for those building a site that is optimised to work with mobile devices and have recommended a responsive design.
Google also carried out some research back in February 2018 and reviewed over 500 websites across EMEA in retail, finance and travel to determine which brands had the most mobile friendly websites and you can read more here.

Whilst you might not have the marketing budgets of these travel brands it’s worth investing time in looking at the usability of these brands and investing in some user research to test any site you are developing with your target audience.

Source: Think With Google

The benefits of user testing

It’s cheaper than you think to carry out a few online video user interviews and invaluable learning to see how they navigate your mobile site. This is when you’ll clearly see when your design might not have catered to large thumbs or colour blindness or is not quite as user friendly as you imagined!

Do call us if you'd like some advice on how to carry out some user testing and be ready for the next Google algorithm change.

[1] Searchenginewatch.com Mobilegeddon is coming on 21 April - are you ready?

[2] Google Webmaster central blog Recommendations for building smartphone optimized websites

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