How can you possibly know when Google is going to update its search-ranking algorithm? Is there a change in the air? Does an owl come to roost outside of your window? Does your bad knee start acting up?
The truth is that even though most “SEO gurus” want you to think that Google is a volatile, unpredictable, almost magical beast when it comes to updating its ranking formulas, search engine algorithm changes are often foreseeable, unsurprising, and right in front of our faces. All you have to do is look for the clues and act before the competition does.
Our latest prediction is based on a growing amount of available evidence: Google’s mobile algorithm will soon start punishing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices and start boosting sites that are built to be mobile friendly.
Mobile Usability is About to Become Even More Important
For the past several weeks and months, it has become increasingly apparent that Google’s next big algorithm change will be focused on mobile usability. There have been four big signs of the coming ranking evolution that you shouldn’t ignore:
Webmasters are getting email warnings (like this) about mobile usability. Google has sent out mass notifications to webmasters warning them about any pages on their site that are not mobile friendly. These emails encourage site owners to learn more about mobile friendly design, locate pages with low mobile usability, and fix problems quickly to prevent poor rankings. Here’s the email that many website owners received:
Google has been testing ranking boosts for great mobile websites. Since November 2014, Google has been experimenting with giving mobile-friendly websites a ranking boost, while giving sites with mobile usability problems a lower ranking in smartphone searches. In addition, the search engine giant has also added a “mobile friendly” label to websites that look great and are easy to use on cell phones and tablets.
Google has launched new mobile-related Webmaster tools. Recent additions to Google Webmaster Tools have included a mobile friendly testing tool and mobile usability report tool. Both of these tools imply that Google wants site owners to analyze and improve their websites before a big algorithm change hits.
Site owners are reporting mobile ranking shifts. Some website owners are already reporting page rank changes in mobile searches. This could be evidence that Google is already testing and tweaking its new algorithm before the official launch.
If you haven’t turned a significant amount of your attention to your law firm’s website mobile usability, this is your final wake-up call. Mobile phone, tablet, and smartphone use continues to skyrocket across the country, and it has been predicted that 2015 will be the year that mobile searches finally eclipse desktop searches. Currently, according to research, more than 60% of the United States population owns a smartphone and mobile usage is growing across even the older demographics.
Simply put: a large number of your ideal clients are now searching for legal services and attorneys on their phones and tablets. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, they aren’t going to find you online. They are going to find someone else. And if your website isn’t mobile friendly, Google may soon punish you for it.
How You Can Improve the Mobile Usability of Your Attorney Website, Starting Today
The quickest way to find out how you are doing is to open your firm’s website on a mobile device:
- Is it hard to navigate on your phone?
- Is it difficult to call your office from the phone or fill out your electronic contact form?
- Do you have to scroll horizontally or zoom in and out constantly?
- Is there an overwhelming amount of content and images?
- Does it load slowly?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have mobile usability issues. It is bad for your users and soon it will be bad for your mobile search rankings.
At Black Fin, we specialize in helping attorneys create simple, functional, and user-friendly websites that look great on desktop screens, tablets, and phones. These “responsive” websites are designed to recognize what kind of device a person is using and then provide a design and layout that works best for that device.
Want to see an example? Go to our website on your phone and see how easy it is to navigate, use, and connect with us.
The warning signs are here. The owl has come to roost at your window. It’s time to stop ignoring your website’s mobile usability issues. Our design and SEO teams can help fix your firm’s mobile website quickly and make certain you are prepared for the coming algorithm change.
Find out more about our services, ask me a question, or get started on a new website today by calling 888-810-3163 or email.