Are your website’s landing pages mobile-friendly? If you’re not sure, find out by checking your landing page URLs on Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
In Google’s quest to provide users with the most relevant results to their online queries, they continue to update the algorithms behind search engine result pages. These updates occur around 500 times each year but the majority go by unnoticed or show only minor effects. Others such as 2003’s Florida and 2005’s Bourbon have a significantly larger impact on the factors Google considers when ranking websites.
Then there’s the big updates that have SEO marketers worldwide frantically trying to rescue their websites to undo any negative effects. 2011 saw the introduction of Panda (we say introduction as Panda has seen almost 30 additional updates since) which gives preference to content rich websites, penalising sites with thin content and/or too many ads. Following this in 2012, Google rolled out Penguin which focused its attention on ‘black hat’ SEO spam tactics, such as keyword stuffing and link schemes.
Panda and Penguin are two of Google’s most significant updates and many websites are still feeling the effects. But it turns out that the third game changer is closer than we realised.
Mobile Friendliness as a Ranking Factor on Google
Last month Google announced that from 21st April 2015 they will be rolling out a world-wide update in which mobile-friendliness will be a major ranking factor on mobile search results.
Google has always promoted responsive design as best practice and they have even tested including mobile icons beside mobile-friendly sites on search result pages. Therefore it’s no surprise that they have been working on this update, especially when you take into consideration that globally, 80% of internet users own a smartphone and 47% own a tablet.1
The significance of this update has been highlighted by Google’s Webmaster Trends team member Zineb Ait Bahajji who has been quoted saying that this upcoming update will have a greater impact on search results than both the Google Panda and Google Penguin updates!2
The algorithm will be applied page by page meaning that each individual page of your website will be judged separately, therefore having one or two pages of your website which aren’t mobile friendly won’t affect ranking results for all landing pages. The update will also kick in immediately, unlike some previous updates which have been applied in batches and therefore their impact haven’t been as instant.
What does this mean for your Law Firm's Website?
If your website isn’t mobile friendly then your website rankings could suffer tremendously when a search for your services is carried out on a smartphone or tablet. If you currently rank on the first page for ‘Conveyancing Solicitors Edinburgh’, after April 21st you will likely lose this high position and find yourself much further down. How far down will your rankings drop? We won’t know until the update is in place. But it’s better to be prepared early, as ranking behind more of your competitors on Google will definitely impact the number of visits to your website and therefore the amount of people contacting you.
Responsive, Mobile Friendly Website Design for Lawyers
When designing and building a website for our clients, we always make sure that our designs are responsive and well suited to show on desktop, smartphones and tablet devices. Read our guide to mobile and responsive website design for law firms and businesses in the UK.
Having an adaptable design is crucial to capturing as much potential traffic as possible. Research published by Smart Insights reports that in the UK, internet users generally use different devices at different times of the day. Smartphones dominate the hours before 9am, especially when people are commuting to work. Desktop is mostly used to browse the internet during working hours, and tablets are most commonly used at night time, followed by smartphones. When you consider that in the UK more than 24 million people browse the internet from a smartphone or tablet, not having a mobile-friendly site could cause you to miss out on A LOT of traffic!
What’s more, users are more likely to browse online ‘multiscreen’, meaning that people commonly use a desktop browser, mobile and/or tablet device at the same time to multitask. Your website is a user’s first impression of you and your services, therefore having an inconsistent site which is difficult to use on mobile could prevent people from contacting you. They may question the quality of your services, or simply find it too complicated to contact you on a non-mobile friendly website.
However, if you have a responsive, well designed website that provides optimum user experience on a variety of devices, then you are more likely to, not only rank higher on Google, but build trust with potential clients too.
Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Moore Legal Technology have been designing and building websites for law firms all over the UK and internationally for over 10 years, therefore we know what works to get you generating more business online. Click here for your free website analysis or contact us on 0845 620 5664 and ask for Chris for an informal chat on how we can help you thrive online!