Google Updates Algorithm to Include Mobile in Ranking Signals: Photographers, Are You Ready?

Are you ready? Google officially announced it will begin factoring in mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in its algorithms to display the most relevant, mobile-friendly search results to its users beginning April 21. That’s just three weeks away.

When I redesigned my website a few months ago, the main reason for updating was to switch to a responsive design so that my site would be easy to read and navigate, regardless of the device or browser you viewed it from. Because this was so important to me (I knew this mobile stuff on its way), I decided to re-build the site with a pre-built template vs. custom design. It made my life a lot easier and got the job done.

This is a major change that will have significant impact on mobile search. Websites that are mobile-optimized will have the mobile-friendly text label in the mobile search results to help users know whether a search result they may click on is mobile-friendly or not. If you were given the option between two search results on your phone, and one had the label “mobile-friendly” next to it, which one would you click on first?

As photographers, I understand that design may take priority over UI/UX, but keep in mind how easy it is to share EVERYTHING these days. Your name, your work, your website — any and all can be shared in a few clicks, texts, or searches via email, phone, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … the list goes on.

The point being that you want to make sure your photography website and portfolio is ready to go when a potential client views it on their phone. Make sure it’s as easy as possible for them to contact you or refer you to a friend.

If your site isn’t optimized for this, you might lose out on potential business if the user is impatient (we want everything instantly, right?) or forgets to look you up the next time they are on a desktop or laptop.

To see whether your site passes (it’s either yes or no), check out Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. If you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you can also find information about the mobile-friendly pages on your site (and potential issues) by logging in.

As someone who now spends the majority of her time searching the web from her phone in the wee hours of the morning, I can fully appreciate businesses that prioritize mobile experiences for their users. However, that said, I have found several sites that are responsive, but there are still issues with many of the pages (copy missing, search function doesn’t work, buttons broken, etc.). So make sure you’re testing on a regular basis to ensure you’re providing the best experience possible for your users.

Remember, I’m not saying your website sucks if it isn’t mobile-optimized right now. But it is definitely something to keep in mind the next time you begin the process of updating your online presence.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or drop me a note using the contact form or by email.