Google SEO focus shifts to SmartPhones

Well, I suppose it had to happen; what with Google completing the shift of its entire business model to become a mobile company.

“Mobile matters, and it will matter a lot faster than people realize,” Cutts said. “It will surpass desktop traffic in the next two to three years, so don’t completely ignore mobile. Think about it and how you can do it well.”

A number of recent comments by Google has made it clear that sites not embracing the mobile world properly will be penalised via a serious drop in search rankings. We’ve sort of seen this coming; Google went mobile-first in 2010 but took a “gently-gently” approach to persuade site owners to head in the same direction. Now, I suspect, they’ve moved from a gentle hand to enforcement.

The biggest shift we’ve seen is the intolerance of “mobile-only” sites. This used to be an acceptable option, according to Google but they’ve subtly changed their position to “if there is no reason for the mobile experience to be dramatically different, then use responsive. Period.”

Hidden meaning inside? “To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.” is the clear threat that if you ignore mobile you ARE going to take a hammering in search ranking.

They are also sounding the death knell for pointless Apps and crummy “Download our App” pop-ups. Unless there is a specific reason to use an App then you really shouldn’t force your app on users. That doesn’t stop you having one, far from it, but for many users they are happy using a browser to experience what companies have to offer.

This is going to have a significant impact on future App development, even more so with the launch today of Firefox’s new mobile phone that is solely browser-based.

Take away

Think mobile and act. If you’re not already there then expect natural traffic to drop dramatically.