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Ignoring this Change could Tank your Search Rankings in 2016

Web apps… mobile apps… responsive design.

A few years ago, most of us could ignore the above. None of them had a direct impact on our ability to rank pages in Google and pull targeted traffic to our sites.

Things have changed.

You can no longer afford to ignore how your website appears on mobile devices. Nor can you disregard the experience your visitors have while using their mobiles to navigate your site.

Why not? Because if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to see your rankings slip in 2016. Google, Bing and Yahoo have made it clear they expect your site to look good regardless of whether folks are looking at it on their laptops, tablets or phones.

Let’s talk about how responsive design will affect your search rankings in 2016. But first, a few definitions to make sure we’re on the same page…

Web apps – applications that run in your browser. You’re probably using them on a regular basis, even if you don’t realize it. For example, if you have a Gmail account, you’re using a web app.

Mobile apps – applications developed for phones and tablets. Do you listen to Pandora on your HTC One? Do you use your iPad to check in on Facebook? If so, you’re using mobile apps.

Responsive design – a method of building a website that automatically resizes according to platform. It ensures your site is as easy to navigate on an iPhone as it is on a 27-inch monitor.

Responsive Design And Search Rankings: What You Need To Know

“Mobilegeddon” officially happened on April 22, 2015.

The day before, Google announced it would start giving a ranking boost to sites that were mobile-friendly. If you were one of the forward-thinking business owners who had already made the necessary changes, you were in a good position. On the other hand, if you were caught unaware, you had to scramble in order to maintain your rankings.

Let’s say this is the first time you’re hearing that mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor. If that’s the case, you have a lot of work to do. Making your site mobile-friendly isn’t just a simple matter of installing a plugin. You need to rebuild from the ground up.

Before you set aside a lot of time and money for a design overhaul, it’s worth finding out whether your site already looks good on mobile devices.

A Simple Way To Test Whether Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

There’s an easy way to test your site. Click this link and type your domain name into the form field on that page.

Google will analyze your site in real time – it only takes a minute – and tell you whether it complies with its mobile standards. If your site isn’t compliant, Google will display “Not mobile-friendly” in bold, red letters.

Underneath, it will list the reason(s). For example, you might see the following:

Content wider than screen

You’ll also be presented with a number of recommendations for making your site mobile-friendly. The recommendations are based on whether your site is built on WordPress, another CMS (content management system) or if you or someone else hand-coded it.

How To Make Sure Your Site Ranks High In 2016

Obviously, there are a lot of factors that influence how your site ranks in the search engines. Google and its counterparts take into account page load speed, keyword usage, backlinks from unique IPs and domains, and how you use anchor text in those links.

And that’s barely scraping the surface.

One of the factors that will be important next year is mobile-friendliness. It’s already important. But Google, Yahoo and Bing are expected to crank up the juice as more and more people use their phones and tablets to engage online.

Is your website ready for 2016? Does it boast a responsive design that resizes according to platform? If not, contact our team for help. Design & Promote has earned a reputation for building gorgeous mobile-friendly sites that deliver results.