If you have a 'Google Webmaster' account you may have received an email from Google, regarding 'Fixing mobile usability issues on your site'. We believe that it is worth considering the implications of this email.
Since mid March 2015, users of 'Google Webmaster Tools' service have been receiving emails which inform them of 'mobile usability' issues on their sites.
This is a very helpful email/service from Google. It helps you identify potential issues that mobile users of your site may experience. While helpful, it is not going to be welcome news to people with non-responsive sites. If your site is non-responsive or is a couple of years old, you may have a few of these 'mobile usability issues'.
Googles' email states the following:
"The mobility errors on these pages affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users."
The last line in this email is telling, "and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users". While not specifically spelling it out, we believe that this statement means the following (or close to the following) for owners of non-responsive websites:
- Google is going to start favouring responsive sites over non-responsive sites in searches carried on from mobile and tablet devices.
- Responsive sites will gain SERP brownie points over non-responsive sites. A well performing non-responsive site, with 'deserved' rankings, may loose ranking to a lesser responsive site.
"Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices."
With 40% to 60% of web traffic coming from mobile/tablet devices, it is very important that you test your website for mobility issues. If present, upgrade your website as soon as possible, otherwise non responsive sites could see 40% to 60% drop in web traffic.