From April 21st onwards, almost 50% of the top 100 UK law firms’ websites have been placed at risk of being downgraded in Google’s results as the search engine rolled out one of the biggest ever changes to the way its algorithms work. The update is set to impact on websites that had not been developed with features that cater for users viewing the content on mobile phones or tablet devices. From April 21st these websites have started to be ‘downgraded’ in the mobile search results which will affect around 48 out of the top 100 UK law firms.
With so many online searches now originating from mobile devices, regardless of how good the content may be, websites that do not offer a mobile friendly experience (for example, by making users zoom in and out of content or swipe across a page as they read text) can by default, no longer serve the best content to mobile users.
Google gave a rare warning when they announced the mobile-friendly ranking update, saying that they expected it to have a “significant impact” on the mobile search results. Up to 40% of all traffic arriving at a law firms website will originate from a search completed on a mobile device. This means that for non-mobile friendly websites, up to 40% of the total traffic is at risk.
To make sure a law firms website is ready for the change, Google have developed a Mobile-Friendly Test which allows websites to be tested for mobile friendliness. The test will analyse a URL and generate a report on whether or not the page has a mobile-friendly design. The results will identify common issues which include text that is too small to read, images that have not optimised and links that are too close together.
Google also provide additional helpful resources which include a Webmasters Mobile Guide on creating and then improving your mobile site and also a resource for checking commonly used software such as WordPress.
Even losing a couple of positions to competitors websites can have a huge impact on click-throughs, with the likelihood of someone clicking on a link in the search results diminishing substantially as you move down the search engine results. All of the UK’s top 100 law firms will generate enquiries from the search engine listings and therefore, any without mobile friendly websites should act quickly, or run a very real risk of losing valuable traffic and business.