Technology

Google launches new ‘mobile-friendly’ website label

The world's most popular search engine has changed its mobile-device algorithm

There are hundreds of factors that Google considers when it sends its “bots” off to crawl your website. Google bots analyze and interpret Web pages inside and out based on a combination of calculations, also known as an algorithm, to see how relevant and helpful content will be for particular searches. These factors are the subject of  much debate, because Google has never released a full list of them. Instead, SEO analysts have been left to speculate about potential changes to this algorithm and hoping to stay a step ahead of the game.

A major subject of discussion recently has been on the weight Google places on mobile-friendly design. Isn’t it a pain to constantly pinch, zoom and scroll on a website on your phone? If you could avoid a site like that, you would — which is why Google has rolled out a new feature that aims to avoid the dreaded battle with non-mobile-friendly sites and help improve the search experience for its users.

Mobile search has been exponentially increasing in recent years. In fact, analysts expect that 2014 will be the first year in which mobile Internet use will outpace desktop Internet use. With so many users searching on mobile devices, it’s become an absolute necessity to have a mobile-friendly website. The benefits of a mobile-friendly design have only increased with the volume of users searching on mobile devices. They’ve been shown to keep visitors on your page longer and help you convert visitors into leads. Google has simply taken it a step further with this search results change. Now, mobile design can have an impact on whether anyone even clicks on your site at all.

Google confirmed that it cares about mobile-friendly design — a lot, and not just as a factor in its algorithm — when it announced this week that it will start optimizing search results for mobile users by adding a “mobile-friendly” label to websites on search results pages. This means that websites meeting Google’s criteria for a mobile-friendly site will be more likely to turn up in a mobile search.

So what does this change mean for your real estate website?

If your current Web page isn’t mobile-friendly, this change absolutely can have an impact on your website traffic from search engines. Based on Google’s announcement, here are some of the features that Google bots will look for in a mobile-friendly site:

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  • Readable text that doesn’t require zooming.
  • Pages that automatically resize, to avoid scrolling.
  • Links that are far enough apart so that it’s possible to tap the correct one.

If you’re unsure whether your website is mobile-friendly, run it through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This test analyzes your Web page and will report back to you if your site passes the test. If it doesn’t, it may be a smart move for your business to invest in a website that will.

Erica Tafavoti is an inbound marketing expert at Pipeline ROI, real estate’s first complete inbound marketing platform. You can follow Erica’s posts on Twitter at @RE_EricaT and on pipelineroi.com/blog.