Earlier last year we published an article on mobile compatibility reporting that Google had announced they were implementing a system whereby mobile compatible sites would, in principle, be favoured in terms of search engine ranking.
In fact, we actually speculated on how far this would go? Because the direction it was taking seemed to imply that it was only a matter of time before they went from favouring mobile sites, to penalising non-mobile sites that didn't fit it's criteria. Well that time has arrived!
Let me give you the background on this! As part of the comprehensive service we provide to our clients, we register their site with Google WebMaster Central and submit XML sitemaps and page links. This is done for every new site without exception, in fact we've always done it......it's nothing new!
But what is new is that Google is now flagging up a warning message in Webmaster Central for every website that is not mobile compatible. And this is the message that I got this morning......
"Google systems have tested 104 pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 104 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users".
So what does this mean to you?
If you have a mobile compatible site then it's great news! Simply because you will be meeting more of Google's suggested criteria on both desktop and mobile. So you've got everything covered.
If you don't have a mobile compatible site then the news isn't so good. Because Google appear to be intending to demote sites based on not having mobile compatibility. To what extent.....nobody knows!
But what does seem fairly certain is that the search results delivered on desktop systems will vary greatly from those delivered on mobile devices.
So even if your positioning on the desktop search isn't impacted to a major extent, you could find that on mobile searches you're nowhere to be seen. Only time will tell how it will affect your site. But bear in mind that desktop usage is declining rapidly, while the mobile sector is the major driving force in internet usage. It's estimated that 40% of users are now favouring these devices, so it could mean that you're not going to be found by this group.
It's been clear for some time that if your site is not delivering it's message to this specific market then you're going to be disadvantaged in comparison with your competitors who may have mobile sites!
But with the latest warning in Webmaster Central, Google now appears to have upped the ante from disadvantaged to invisible!
As with all these Google updates, they are geared towards delivering a better internet experience to it's users. Many of their initiatives have been of great benefit because we finally saw the end of the era where people could cheat their way to the top. It's an even playing field now, so all you need to focus on is delivering quality, unique content and present it in the right way to both the desktop and mobile audience.
Remember that Google virtually control the online experience in many more areas than just online Search.
If you've got an Android smartphone then you're using their Android Operating System. If you have a ChromeBook you're using their Chrome Operating System....and these are now outselling both IPads and Windows laptops, despite Microsoft desperately slashing their prices to try and compete. You may be using GMail and their Chrome browser as well.....I certainly do because these products are excellent compared to previous solutions.
Are Google make or break for your business? Absolutely not! But they do have a major influence, and if they look on you favourably then it certainly helps!
The Internet has changed a lot in the 20+ years I've been online.......many things have come and gone!
But one thing you can be sure of is that mobile internet usage has come......and it's never going!
Every business wants favourable positioning on search engines. While it isn't the life or death situation that many people believe it to be, it does help.
However, I want to debunk a myth that still exists, because there is a gross lack of understanding about SEO related practices. These have been fuelled by a mountain of misinformation, generated by various self appointed SEO experts over many years!
While it's true that certain unscrupulous practices could have got you prime positioning in the past.......these loopholes have now been closed! To the extent that some of the sites that went down this dubious path have now been blitzed by Google, simply because they were caught cheating. This has resulted in an explosion of reputation management companies turning up to clean up the mess. At a price!
Businesses fell for the myth that SEO was all about pieces of secret code that could be put on the site, which would bring untold riches and an immediate promotion to the lifestyle of the rich and famous! Well the truth is, there never has been a magic bullet, and there never will be......and this is what I've been telling people for years! If businesses had focussed on providing users and search engines with what they wanted instead of trying to figure out ways to cheat the system, they wouldn't be in this mess now.
While it's true that onsite SEO optimisation to deliver the content in the right way is very important, just bear one phrase in mind....you can't polish garbage! You may try to enhance it somewhat by rolling it in glitter, but it's still garbage! So your content has to be grammatically correct, relevant, and deliver value.
So what can you do?
Generate unique content of value to the user and search engines! Never copy content from other websites.....you will be penalised!
Quality is more important than quantity. So you should try to deliver information that informs the user clearly and effectively, and whenever possible, delivers solutions. Internet searches are much more complex now....gone are the days of one and two word searches. People are putting in specific questions and your content should provide the answers in a clear, concise, and grammatically correct manner.
Stop talking about me, me, me! Deliver the information, and demonstrate the benefits of the product or service to the user. People want to know what you're going to do for them.....they don't want to hear your self promotion speech.
Make sure you include a related image.....images are important, especially for Social Media display to attract attention.
Use one or two (no more) long tail keywords within the content.....for example "web design for British businesses in Spain".
When you've got content on your site, then keep distributing it on Social Media. A little and often is the key! But try to engage with users on Social Media.....encourage people to share, reply and interact.
You don't need the literary prowess of an Oscar Wilde to be able to do this effectively. You know your business, and you should know your customers' needs and requirements. If your spelling and grammar is lacking, then get a friend to check it over. Be aware that professional content writers do not come cheap....and really good ones are hard to find. So employing somebody to do this is not going to be an option unless you have a very generous budget.
Remember that you can make a difference! Be organised, be disciplined, and aim to provide content that people will want to read and share! Build yourself into an authority figure within your industry, and then users and search engines will sit up and listen.
All I've done is just tell you what I do.......in fact, it's what I've always done. No secret code or hidden mysteries to it whatsoever, just plain common sense! But does it work? Just search for "Web Design Spain" on Google and draw your own conclusion.
Some months ago we discussed the importance of having a mobile responsive website because it's estimated that around 40% of your potential visitors now connect via smartphones and tablets.
At that time we speculated on whether Google would be adjusting it's search and indexing criteria to highlight those sites that conform to this latest technology. Google wants to deliver the best results to it's users when they do a search, so they have now put new measures into place to identify the mobile and non-mobile compatible sites on their search results.
On September 30, Google began testing new mobile-friendly icons. When a user performed a search on a mobile device, a small green mobile-friendly icon would appear on sites that were mobile-friendly.
Then on October 13, they changed their methodology by displaying non-mobile-friendly icons which were grey cell phones with lines through them indicating incompatibility.
On October 14, there was yet another change in methodology. This time, sites that appeared in search results on mobile devices that were deemed mobile-friendly were accompanied by the words “Mobile-friendly” in grey.
We're now at the stage where the user is easily able to identify whether a site is mobile friendly or not. Obviously they still have the choice as to whether they want to continue or not......however, they may not have that choice much longer!
Because continuing along the theme of Google wanting to deliver the best search results to users, it's now a distinct possibility that sites that are not mobile responsive will end up being displayed much lower in the search results. Google wants to show a list of the best options that people can visit.....not a list of options that they can't. So the feeling in the industry is that this is just a matter of time.
Google has made no secret over it's push towards mobile computing over the last year, but they never tell people exactly what they intend to do to implement these measures. It's just a matter of wait and see how far they will take it. Unfortunately, the "wait and see" option could well mean that non-mobile responsive sites will disappear from the main Google search results until such time as they comply with Google's vision of how the internet should be.
In only a few months they've moved from highlighting mobile compatibility to potentially punishing non-mobile compatibility. How far will it go? With Google profits soaring with their Android operating system on smartphones, tablets, and ChromeBooks, this seems to be just the start!
This is a very different Internet compared to only a few years ago, and irrespective of whether we like it or not, Google are in the driving seat! Just make sure that you're not left "outside looking in".
Google has recently announced that they are starting to use HTTPS/SSL as a ranking signal within their search engine algorithm.
The official wording was: “Over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search-ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”
So what is HTTPS/SSL?
It's a 2048bit data encryption method that previously was only ever in general use on ecommerce sites to make online payments safer, and on sites that required personal information like NIE, National Insurance, or Passport numbers to be input. Simply because SSL encrypts the connections to the site giving a higher level of security. Google has been going down the path of encrypting their own sites for some time, and now they want other sites to follow suit in order to make the Web a safer place to use.
Obviously anything that strengthens web security, online safety, and the secure transmission of personal data is a benefit to everybody. In addition, it definitely enhances a potential client's perception of you being a legitimate and professional business.....that's the reason we use SSL encryption on this site.
Having better site security and demonstrating professionalism is advantageous on many levels. But now that Google has announced this new initiative of favouring sites that demonstrate security measures are in place, people have been given an incentive to put these processes into place.
But one important point here is that just because you have an SSL certificate in place does not mean your rankings on Google will suddenly increase to top positioning. The reality is that if your site is technically poor with low quality plagiarised content then you'll be going nowhere! Because achieving high rankings on search engines is a combination of many different factors, and this announcement just means that HTTPS/SSL has now been added to the list of website criteria that will be evaluated.
Everybody wants great search engine positioning, but the methods to achieve that goal have changed a lot in recent years. There are still technical elements within a site that are highly relevant, but the unscrupulous methods employed by some in the past no longer work. Essentially you cannot cheat your way to the top.....because you will get caught out and the penalties will be severe.
WebSpain have never employed any of these methods, we've always emphasised that quality content that delivers value to the reader must be paramount. So when Google changed it's algorithms in the past few years, none of our clients were penalised in any way.
Quality content is so important, and it must be content that engages with the user and delivers your business message in a clear and professional way. But having quality content that nobody reads is a total waste of time, and results in lost business opportunities and diminished brand awareness.
And this is where Social Media promotion comes in! Because this opens up a huge target market, and it costs you nothing except for a few minutes of your time every day.
How big is this market? In March 2014 Facebook reported it had 665 million active users each day which was up 26% from a year earlier. Even more surprising was that over 750 million people are using Facebook from a mobile device each month.....up 54% from 2013 figures. Which reinforces our message on the importance of mobile responsive websites being essential today.
So what can you do to get a piece of this action?
1. Ensure that you have FaceBook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linkedin, and Pinterest pages!
2. Share info from your site every day. Only a couple of items....a little and often is the best way.
3. Get more likes, friends, followers on these networks. If you don't, you're only talking to yourself!
4. Encourage user interaction and shares amongst your target audience.
5. Ensure your website is mobile responsive. Otherwise you'll lose out on that audience.
6. Be consistent.....this will only reap benefits long term.
People have said to me that they're not keen on Twitter, or Google Plus etc.....but the bad news is that they're still part of the game. Ignoring a major social media network because you don't like it is not in your best interests, so I'd strongly advise against it. And another very important factor is that search engines now include Social Media popularity as part of their algorithms. So besides getting you in front of more people you can boost your rankings as well.
Not convinced? OK....let me give you an example: In August 2013 I launched Motorcycle Sport purely as a leisure interest.....but I also used it as a new site to test the initiatives listed above. Since the time of launch I've focussed on Social Media promotion for it....nothing else. The site is a basic IP Board forum, no technical innovations, no paid Ads etc......just Social Media promotion.
At present, it has over 12,000 members with around 15,000 unique visitors per month, and the FaceBook page has over 3000 "likes".....which is rising every day. Please note that these are real "likes".....they're not paid "likes" which some people resort to using. There is no benefit in that whatsoever, you have not increased your real target market, and once again it's cheating!
All our "likes" are from motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide.....they want to see our content and have voluntarily decided to follow the page! And in many cases they share the content onto their Activity Streams, thereby putting us in front of more of our target market.
That's what has been done, and the image shows the results on Google for the term Motorcycle Sport Forum.
It's on page one at number one, ahead of major international media and publishing groups who have been established for many years, and probably have marketing budgets well into six figures. It cost me nothing except a few minutes of my time every day.
So you can make a difference, and you don't need to pay anybody to do it for you. It takes a bit of time and it does take commitment on a regular basis. But this example shows that no matter how small your company may be, you can take initiatives that can have a very positive longterm effect on your business!
For mobile compatible websites in Spain, WebSpain have the solution!
Mobile compatibility is critical today, as up to 40% of your site visitors are likely to be using smartphones and tablets. In fact, it is estimated that by the end of 2014 there will be 1.75 billion smartphone users in the world. Google wants to deliver the best results to it's users when they do a search, so they have announced what is essentially a name and shame program for websites with aging technology. These would include websites that are not mobile responsive, and sites that use Flash in their content.
This system is implemented by giving warnings to users that the site they are intending to visit is not suitable for mobile devices. The average user when seeing this warning is just going to go elsewhere.....so Google are making things very difficult for businesses that are still running on old software. If your current site is not mobile responsive and/or uses Flash, you're at a big disadvantage.....because potentially you're going to be losing a lot of traffic. Which means that business opportunities are going to be lost, and your bottom line is going to be affected!
So what is mobile responsive? Basically, a mobile responsive website automatically changes to fit the device you’re using by adapting the view to the size of screen that you have. Typically, there are four general screen sizes that responsive design has been aimed at: the widescreen desktop monitor, the smaller desktop and laptop, the tablet, and the mobile phone. So whatever size screen you're using you get perfect results without having to zoom in and out or scroll from left to right. It makes things easy for the user, and if you make things easy for your potential clients while your competitors don't, then you're in a strong position to drive your business forward.
All of our websites since early 2013 have been built using mobile responsive technology, because we could see the way that things were going to go. Now that Google has implemented this warning system, it's not a situation you can ignore if your business is important to you.
However, there's no need to miss opportunities and lose potential business! Because you could have a modern, mobile compatible site for a lot less than you might think! And the peace of mind that comes from working with WebSpain is priceless!
.....just the Web Designer that's best for you! But do your research! Discover who has a longterm, proven, and verifiable track record in the industry, and always take up references! You need someone who's going to be there for you in the future!
One thing's for sure......WebSpain are here to stay!
Our track record in the IT industry began in 1988, then an expansion into web design in 1998, web hosting in 2003, and now a second generation family business. It's not just our business....it's our life!
We understand exactly what it takes to make a success of a business online. The longevity of our business, our rock solid and proven infrastructure, and hundreds of client testimonials from ten different countries can attest to that.
And you can also have that total confidence and peace of mind that comes with using WebSpain.
With professional Websites that are fully mobile compatible at very competitive prices, we believe that we offer the most comprehensive business package in the industry today. Factor in the combination of a quality web design service, enterprise strength web hosting, and unparalleled levels of customer service 7 days a week, and you'll see why we are unique in what we do. Can you afford not to find out more? Contact us now at
WebSpain deliver web design in Spain with a range of web design services and business web hosting solutions for British businesses in Spain. For all types of Spain website design, we can meet and exceed your expectations at very competitive prices. All of our sites are built with responsive frameworks that give full mobile compatibility across all devices.
Another very important aspect today is Social Media! All our sites have full social media compatibility with content sharing included....so from then on it's easy for you to keep promoting and marketing your business.
WebSpain view all our clients as strategic business partners!
So choosing us to build a website for you is only the first stage in a longterm business relationship. There's a reason we have over 500 clients across 10 countries, in 6 different languages, some with us for over 10 years, and the majority for over 5 years.
With UK IT industry experience dating back to 1988, and web design services since 1998, we have a track record that few, if any, can match. We're a second generation family business with all the necessary skills in-house, many years of experience, total dedication and commitment, old school values like integrity and honesty........and probably the most intense work ethic you will ever find!
Remember that there is no best web design company.....just the Web Design Company that's best for you! But do your research! Discover who has a longterm, proven, and verifiable track record in the industry, and always take up references! You need someone who's going to be there for you in the future!
One thing's for sure......WebSpain are here to stay! It's not just our business....it's our life! We understand exactly what it takes to make a success of a business online. The longevity of our business, our rock solid and proven infrastructure, and countless client testimonials And you can also have that total confidence and peace of mind that comes with using WebSpain.
We believe that we offer the most comprehensive business package in the industry today. Factor in the combination of a quality web design service, enterprise strength web hosting, unparalleled levels of customer service 365 days a year, and you'll see why we are unique in what we do. Can you afford not to find out more? Contact us now at
Starting a new business? Is your current website outdated? Are you losing business because competitors' sites are more professional? Do you need secure and reliable web hosting?
These scenarios are not unique....virtually all our clients come to WebSpain for the same reasons, and usually via personal recommendation from existing clients.
The first step is to contact us at
We'll reply very quickly, immediately identify your requirements and all the possible options available to you.
We can then design a demonstration site based on your preferences, with no deposit needed, and no obligation to proceed whatsoever. So you have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain! And if you like what you see, we can then complete your new website within 7 to 10 days!