I recently wrote a piece about the impending update to the Google mobile-friendly algorithm. This algorithm update is slated to drop in May, and it may hurt your firm in mobile search results if your site isn’t mobile friendly.
(If you’ve already got a mobile-friendly or responsive website, you won’t have to be concerned about this change.)
However, for those that are still desktop-focused, Google is trying to give you one last warning to switch to a mobile-friendly or responsive design.
SearchEngineLand’s Barry Schwartz reports that Google is now issuing a warning to site owners who have failed to update their site for mobile-friendliness. Schwartz writes:
The new warnings show directly in the mobile search results, but only to the site owner, when Google knows that the searcher is the owner of the site.
Schwartz cites the experience of Jennifer Slegg, who has an old, non-mobile-friendly site. By her account, when she sees her site in mobile search results, she receives a link that reads, “Your page is not mobile-friendly.” That link goes to a Google help page about mobile-friendliness.
With a month until the expected release date of this algorithm update, this may be Google’s way of warning site owners who still aren’t complying with Google’s mobile-friendly guidelines.*
Is your law firm website going to be affected?
Is your law firm one of them?
If you haven’t yet made the switch to a mobile-friendly or responsive website — or you’re not sure how mobile-friendly your law firm website is — the time to figure that out is now.
While this update isn’t expected to be like the update dramatically described as “Mobilegeddon,” this update is still going to increase the effect of Google’s mobile-friendly ranking signal. It’s meant to be a gradual rollout according to Google. In another article Schwartz wrote on this topic, he writes that “the mobile-friendly algorithm is a page-by-page signal, so it can take time for Google to assess each page, and that may be why it will be a gradual rollout.”
But that doesn’t mean you should wait to get yourself a mobile-friendly or responsive site. Now more than ever, your potential clients are using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to browse the web and seek the answers that they have about their case or problem. A study we completed a few years ago shows that that nearly 50 percent of web visitors ended up at law firm websites from mobile devices.
In today’s increasingly mobile world — and as sites become more mobile-friendly — I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is even higher. Along with the fact that two-thirds of American adults own smartphones, it’s imperative for you as an attorney to make sure that potential clients can find your law firm’s website anywhere they search from, and that it’s easy for them to interact with and engage you.
Google understands the importance of mobile-friendliness. So do your potential clients. And while mobile-friendliness is great, responsive design handles both the mobile-friendly aspects while also automatically adjusting to any screen size or resolution. And that means your law firm’s website will look great, no matter which device your potential client uses to find you.
Can you afford to wait to upgrade to a responsive law firm website?
No. Don’t run the risk of unnecessarily losing out on business because your website isn’t adapting to the needs of both search engines and those web searchers who are, whether they know it or not, waiting for an opportunity to be represented by you.
*Schwartz writes that Google’s John Mueller confirmed that, “this is an experiment they are trying out to see if it helps boost mobile-friendliness.”
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