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Google to Penalize Sites that Aren’t Mobile-Friendly

The ongoing rise in searching and shopping from mobile devices has gained plenty of attention and has resulted in changes ranging to how stores display on small screens to various competing payment methods vying to be the choice of mobile shoppers are ongoing. But the biggest name in search may be the most influential driver of change.

Starting April 21, Google will give mobile-friendly sites a boost in search rankings.

“We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” Google said on its Webmaster Central blog. “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

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EcommerceBytes asked ecommerce platforms Ecwid and Bigcommerce for their perspectives on the forthcoming search shift. Both seemed poised to adapt to the change and make it business as usual for their customers.

Bigcommerce SEO manager Simon Serrano anticipates Google’s change overall should have “a moderate impact on mobile search rankings, mostly by improving click-through rates and other engagement factors that Google uses in its algorithms.”

Serrano noted stores using custom or heavily modified templates will want to ensure their presence adheres to Google’s mobile guidelines, a step Google encouraged as well.

“Merchants should understand the breakdown of their store’s traffic between mobile, desktop and tablet devices,” Serrano said. “If they get much more mobile traffic than desktop and tablet, then the change will have a much larger impact on their organic performance.”

Ecwid vice president of product Eugene Kaznacheev said their sellers can build an Ecwid store that is “fully mobile-adaptive” and their solution is mobile responsive out of the box.

For merchants who still may be wondering if mobile shopping is as important as the rise in focus and discussion about it, Kaznacheev noted that Ecwid stores over the recent 2014 holiday shopping season saw more than 25 percent of sales coming from phones and tablets.

Sellers can learn if their websites are mobile friendly with this tool on Google, and can find a guide to learning more about the change on this page.

The guide features a list of content-management systems for which Google has provided more information. The list includes ecommerce platforms Magento, Prestashop as well as WordPress, Tumblr and Google Sites.

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David A Utter

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered” with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

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