When we updated our Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors last month, we came very close to adding a mobile element to it. Now we’ve actually done so, in the wake of Google giving explicit advice that sites with issues for mobile devices might not rank as well, in the future.
We were close, so close, to adding a mobile element when our updated table was posted on June 10. As we explained then:
Finally, the survey asked respondents if, among other new suggestions, a new element relating to mobile optimization should be added. The results were that one should, weighted at +2. Then the editors had a long debate about whether this should be included.
Ultimately, as the differences between the mobile world and the desktop world blend, the editors didn’t feel it made sense to add. Instead, we felt that publishers should indeed strongly consider the experience mobile visitors have when coming to their sites but that the SEO aspects of this are already covered in other elements such as Ce, Engagement.
Then on June 11, the day after the survey appeared, Google announced that mobile site optimization would be a factor in rankings. It was the first time Google had been this explicit on the topic. It was also the tipping point we needed to add the element to the chart, which we’ve done now.
As for Google’s advice, it was specifically about search results on smartphones. Google warned that sites that have issues for people using smartphones can expect they won’t rank as highly for results shown to smartphone users.
That makes sense. Why would any search engine want to show smartphone users a URL that’s not going to work correctly? It also means that if you’re not worried about mobile visitors, you can ignore the advice. But you shouldn’t. With an increasing number of visitors using smartphones, not considering them means losing a potential audience.
If you want to get started with better understanding what Google wants in terms of mobile optimization, the company has an entire help area on the topic, which:
So, think mobile. The new mobile element comes on to the Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors chart with a weighting of +1, which represents that it’s new, that there are other factors that, relatively speaking, may be more important. But in general, any factor being added to the chart means it’s very important indeed.