When it comes to determining the order that results appear in a Google search, there is a long list of factors that Google takes into account. Until recently the main factors have included the content of your website, the number of links to your website, and how active you are on social media.

That was until recently, when Google announced that on 21 April 2015, it will be introducing a new factor: mobile friendly. Google knows if your website is mobile friendly, and has decided to include it as a ranking factor.

Essentially, this means if your website is mobile friendly, you can expect to rank above your competitors who don’t have mobile friendly sites.

By now we’re certain a few questions have started to form in your minds, and here are the answers!

What does it mean to be mobile friendly?

A mobile friendly website is one that can still be used with ease when viewed on a smaller device, such as a mobile phone or tablet. Because standard websites are big and contain a lot of content, a mobile friendly site means visitors can still read, use and navigate around your site.

There are two types of mobile friendly sites. The first is called a mobile website, which is a second version of your normal site, specifically designed to appear only when viewed using a mobile. It’s often a smaller version of your standard website, designed to contain only the essential information.

The second type, a responsive website, is one which adapts to the size of the screen being used to view it. Instead of the rigid structure of a standard website, a responsive design changes and adapts; pieces move and shift in order to maintain a usable design.

Why has Google decided to make it an important ranking factor?

In early 2014 internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage for the very first time, and the trend has only continued to grow. Basically, more people are using mobile devices to browse the internet than anything else.

By making mobile-friendly a ranking factor, Google is making their search engine even more user-friendly. It’s now more likely that anyone doing a Google search from a mobile device is going to click a website that’s mobile-friendly.

Why do I want to rank highly in Google?

This should be a bit of a no brainer… In any Google search, the top three options usually get around 60 percent of all clicks, the first page collects 90 percent of all clicks, and less than 10 percent of clicks go to websites on page 2 or beyond. So if you’re not on the first page, you’re missing out on 90 percent of potential traffic to your website.

So is my website mobile friendly?

2013 is considered by many to be the Year of Responsive Design, so if you’re website was built before then, it’s probably it’s not going to be mobile friendly, unless you’ve specifically asked your developer for it.

Luckily, Google has developed a great tool that will scan your website and tell you if it’s mobile friendly. And if it’s not, it’ll even tell you what you need to do to make it mobile friendly!

Check it out here:www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly.

So where to from here?

We recommend you run your website through Google’s tool above. If it tells you your site is mobile friendly, that’s great – you’ve got nothing to worry about. But if it tells you your site isn’t mobile friendly, then we recommend you consider getting a mobile friendly website as soon as possible, especially if you want to maintain your Google rankings.

Google has declared that this new update, due to take effect on 21 April 2015, is going to be the most significant update to its algorithm in years. We’ll be monitoring the rankings of all of our clients closely over the next couple of months, and will endeavour to make sure they maintain the good rankings we’ve worked so hard to get.