The 21st of April will herald a new phase for internet searches as Google flags up a change in its algorithms. This is likely to mean that sites that are not mobile-friendly may suffer the consequences if they want to rank well in all searches. No-one really knows what Google plans to do exactly, but with many businesses relying on having an online presence it is worth taking note of the changes.
John Candia, our CEO is only too well aware of the importance of mobile technology having headed up the iProperty Company from scratch. Not everyone has the benefit of having an in-house team of developers, but he is happy to share some of the company´s expertise for the less tech-savvy. He said:
‘It is a little confusing if you are not a tech person, but basically there are three different formats: desktop, responsive and mobile. None of this applies to apps which are specifically designed for mobile phones and often have special features. In principle most websites can be viewed on your pc, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. However not all websites adapt well to all three. Google knows that more and more people are now browsing using mobile devices so they want to encourage all website owners to make the necessary upgrades.
Many small business owners may have a website that is a few years old but is working perfectly, so they may not know if it is important to ensure that their site is mobile friendly or responsive. Basically mobile and desktop sites will be ranked separately, so in order to do well in both you will need to be optimised. He added:
‘ The iProperty Company has developed all its formats to be responsive plus we have apps. This means that our site adapts automatically to the format used and should work well on practically all devices. We haven´t had to do anything different because we have designed our portal that way from the start.’
If you are a small business with a website how can you tell if your site is already mobile-friendly and do you need to worry if it is not? According to iProperty Front End Web Developer Debbie O´Brien it depends on a number of factors.
‘If your site is not mobile friendly it doesn´t mean that it will disappear from normal Google searches but may not be as highly ranked in mobile searches. The most important thing to consider is whether or not your own customer base is likely to use your site with a smartphone. If they are, you should probably consider optimising your site sooner rather than later. You can tell if your website is responsive or mobile friendly by using the pinch test. That means that if you view your website on a smart phone or tablet and you have to pinch to see the page, you are not optimised for mobile. You can also check by adding your web address to the google mobile-friendly test which gives you lots of useful information. Chances are if your site was developed in the last few years it may already be suitable for mobile.’