Google is launching yet another ranking factor on April 21, aimed to “reward” pages that are more mobile friendly with higher positions in search results. The only way to benefit from this new mobile search ranking boost is to ensure your website is ready for use with smartphones and tablets. Just remember that every promotion is accompanied by a corresponding demotion for every site that is not mobile compatible.
Expect to see a lot of whining blog posts from SEO “experts” whose sites have been demoted floating being published on the 22nd.
For web designers this means using HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery to create a shiny new responsive design to display content effectively on tablets and smartphones as well as traditional desktop browsers. Obviously they could build separate mobile websites to complement the existing site, but why bother trying to run three sites when one is hard enough? Designers may fret long and hard about kerning and character spacing, but at their core they are just as lazy as the rest of us.
On the plus side though, Google is going to start penalising Flash sites because the content does not display correctly on most mobile devices. This is a good thing, hopefully consigning this awful tool to the scrapheap of forgotten web technologies.
But enough about web design – I’m a copywriter so I’m more interested in words. If you want to know more about prepping your pictures for the new algorithm I suggest this excellent eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm from www.clickthrough-marketing.com.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
For copywriters the new emphasis on small screen friendliness presents yet another major challenge doesn’t it?
Well no, not really.
Because one of the principles behind great copywriting is to ensure your message is no longer than it needs to be. So if your website text has already been distilled down to its essence, every page should already natively display perfectly on a small screen (assuming your web designer has their act together).
Which means that as much as things change, for copywriters they are going to stay the same.
On the upside, this new mobile friendly focus may finally end the arbitrary word count so many choose to impose on blog posts, articles and ebooks. Readers can expect to see a lot less “filler” in future.
Better safe than sorry
That said, the new mobile friendly Google algorithm provides you with the perfect excuse to review your copy. Not only do you get another chance to trim down your word count and laser-focus your message, but it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit every call to action, refining and tweaking to boost conversion rates.
Besides – you know your graphic design partner is going to demand you test the visual appearance of your text anyway.