If you care about your search engine rankings, this could be the most valuable article you read all year.

Have you heard the good news? Well, good news if you’re already providing the best online experience to your website visitors. If your website isn’t mobile friendly then read on. If you aren’t sure, then go take Google’s mobile friendly test. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Google recently announced that it would officially use mobile friendliness as a new factor in its ranking algorithm starting on April 21st.

It’s probably because of the numbers on this chart.

comscore-2014-internet-device-usage

After reading their seemingly innocuous post, you might think this is no big deal. But please allow me to be blunt and say IT’S A BIG DEAL.

The new algorithm they unleash on April 21st will likely affect more website rankings this year than any other update they’ve ever done. And if your site isn’t mobile-friendly and rankings are important to your business model, then all the bad things will begin to happen to you.

Starting in 2008 we required every website built by Highforge to be mobile responsive, which is Google’s preferred method of being mobile friendly. You might call us an early adopter, and it’s resulted in sales numbers and conversion rates far above our clients’ expectations. That’s because a better user experience is worth investing in.

If you aren’t responsive yet here’s what I recommend:

Look at your website on this handy responsive design checker so you can be constantly reminded about how jacked up it looks on a smartphone. Be sure to pick a smartphone on the list after putting in your web address.

Realize that just updating your WordPress (or other CMS) theme or simply having a pre-built “responsive” template does not mean you’re providing a good user experience. You might fool Google, but you won’t fool mobile users. Make sure you’re giving your users what they’re looking for based on the device they’re using. For example, a smart phone user is likely going to be much more interested in a phone number or address so make sure those items are more prominently placed at those screen sizes.

Have your in-house team or digital agency of record immediately rebuild your website responsively and, more importantly, intelligently. Make sure they will give your website (and visitors) the love it deserves. A high-level responsive conversion project should range from a $5k for a small business custom site conversion to a $25k+ full custom responsive redesign. The size of your website and your business should have a big impact on that range as well. Enterprise projects can go well beyond $250k.

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