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Anytime Google is about to launch a new update, businesses, both big and small, send up silent prayers in the hope that they are able to escape its wrath with the least possible damage. This time around was no different.
Released on April 21, Google’s latest update evaluates websites on their mobile readiness. Nicknamed Mobilegeddon, it favors sites that render correctly on mobile devices. However, there is a lot that is misunderstood about this update. Here are a few things you should know.
It’s Not a Blanket Ban!
To begin with, the changes in Google’s algorithm don’t impact all websites; only those that are displayed to users on their mobile handsets. Also, it doesn’t affect branded queries. If someone searches for your company by its name, your website won’t be penalized, even if it is not mobile-friendly. Finally, any loss in ranking you experience isn’t permanent. Although the deadline for updating your website was April 21, you can recover your rankings as soon as you make changes to your website.
Checking Your Site’s Mobile Readiness
Telling if your site is mobile friendly is quite easy. You can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Tool to help with that. All you have to do is enter your site’s URL here. It will analyze it and indicate if it’s mobile friendly or not, along with the reasons why it didn’t pass Google’s scrutiny.
Yet another handy tool is the W3C MobileOK Checker. This test designed by the World Wide-Web Consortium gives you a lot of technical insights and recommendations. It also provides a severity rating for all the problems identified along with actionable points on what you need to work on.
Making Up Lost Ground
The question remains – how do you recover your ranking? How do you get your name off Google’s black book?
There are several alternatives, the first one being creating a mobile version (also known as the M.dot version) of your site. This simple solution ensures that some or all features of the site load properly, delivering an experience similar to the traditional website.
Consider a Mobile App
There is yet another option that works for companies that have one or more task oriented functionalities – to create a mobile app. For example, airline companies recognize that their customers would want to carry out basic functionalities (like make reservations, check status update, and confirm flight timings) while on the go. It would make sense for them to create a mobile app that has these specific features. If you’re in a similar position, you could consider getting a mobile app developed for yourself.
Responsive Design Solves the Problem
Another alternative you can go in for is getting a responsive site. Using Responsive Web Design (RWD), you create one site that renders properly on computers and mobile devices. This site will have full functionality, elegant display, and enhanced search engine optimization, giving you the best of both worlds.
Of the three options we’ve looked at, responsiveness is the most popular. It eliminates the hassle of having to maintain two separate sites (like in an M.dot version) or spending a lot of money creating an application. At the same time, it’s also the most affordable and effective way to recover your rankings and stay on the good side of the search engine giant.