More than 40 per cent of industry websites are unprepared for an imminent change to the Google rankings, a real estate website developer has revealed.
Google has announced that from 21 April mobile-friendliness will become a signal that contributes to where a site places on its search engine rankings
“As more people use mobile devices to access the Internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns,” Google announced in a recent blog post.
Local developer Siteloft conducted an analysis of 1,000 sites across Australia and New Zealand to find out how the market was adopting mobile and responsive design.
Chief executive Anton Babkov told Residential Property Manager that almost half of the websites turned out old-style, desktop-only models.
Mr Babkov said studies have shown smartphones are rapidly becoming the preferred method of choice for browsing the internet.
“Fifty-four per cent of consumers believe it is easier to find information on mobile-optimised sites [and] 37 per cent of consumers are more likely to purchase on a mobile optimised site,” he said.
“Responsive web design is not just about getting a snug fit; it is also beneficial for search engine optimisation (SEO).”
Nannup Real Estate client manager Nancy Tang said the regional Western Australian agency takes SEO seriously and that even people in her “sleepy little town” are highly engaged with mobile technology.
“We want to remain fresh for our vendors and landlords, because if we are at the top of the SEO it means they are at the top, and that is where they deserve to be,” she told Residential Property Manager.
Ms Tang said in creating a mobile-friendly site, her agency saw the opportunity to meet market needs without going to the expense of producing an app.
She said one problem with apps is the need to produce iPhone and Android versions, and possibly Windows 8 and Blackberry versions as well.
Another hassle is the need to keep the app updated and fresh, she added.
“We thought apps weren’t the way for us to go to really service our community,” she said.
“When we saw the opportunity that meant people could go online on any mobile device and using any operating system and have a mobile-friendly website with our name on it – that was a no-brainer for us.”
Google has created a mobile-friendly test to examine a website’s smartphone capabilities.
[Related: Getting prime time on a Google search]