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09/10/2014 | Webreality

Bad mobile user experience could soon hurt your website search engine rankings

Did you know that Google can see your website as a mobile user sees it? And that's important, because it's likely that Google will soon penalise websites that don't properly adapt for mobile users.


What does this all mean for your website?

If it's not been designed to "respond" to the device that's being used to view it, your user is getting a compromised view of your website. Since responsive design arrived, websites that have failed to keep up have risked being victims of the back button, as web users have increasingly migrated to mobile devices and become used to excellent mobile-focused website experiences.

For the non-responsive website manager that's bad enough, because it potentially means that your website underperforms against others competing for the same traffic.

Now there's evidence that a website that's not optimised for mobile users from a visual and usability perspective will soon be penalised by Google in its search rankings.

As outlined in this blog post, Google is hinting very strongly that its search rankings algorithm will soon be updated to penalise websites that are failing mobile users from a usability perspective.

This makes total sense in the context of Google's previous moves to penalise slow-to-respond websites in the rankings. You can read more about that here.

It also chimes with Google's ever-increasing emphasis on rewarding high-quality, fresh content.

Fundamentally, these moves by Google are driven by its self-appointed role in championing great user experience. Web users are the winners here.

The latest change derives from the GoogleBot's ability to "see" your website as a human user would see it on a mobile device. This includes important usability factors like font sizes, button sizes,  and scrolling behaviour - all crucial aspects in effective use of responsive design.

We're now several years into the era of responsive web design. At Webreality every new website design we've created since mid-2010 has been responsive.

In light of where Google is going, everyone responsible for managing a website should be taking responsive design seriously.  

Note to web managers: Is your website going to pass the new Google mobile experience test when it arrives?