With ‘Mobilegeddon’ here to stay, just how ‘mobile-friendly’ are .NZ domains?

If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google search results on a mobile device may not be your friend.

If your website is not mobile-friendly, Google search results on a mobile device may not be your friend.

Recently, Google began a change that affects how websites are delivered when searched from a mobile device.

The impact of this change is that websites that are not considered ‘mobile-friendly’ will be given a lower priority than sites that are.

This is important stuff, as evidenced in the somewhat alarmist 'Mobilegeddon' language associated with the change.

So, in practical terms, what is the current state of the New Zealand website landscape in relation to mobile friendliness?

As the registry for all .nz domain names, NZRS Ltd holds a unique position in being able to evaluate the impact of Google search changes in the New Zealand context.

“We should also be clear that the NZRS website is not as mobile friendly as we would like and we have changes planned for later in the year to resolve this,” says David Morrison, Chief Marketing Officer, NZRS Ltd.

“Top of mind for us was how many websites using .nz domain names would be impacted by this change, and to what extent this change could affect mobile search results for New Zealand content?”

But as Morrison points out, why should Kiwis care?

“There are a number of factors that affect where and how a website places in Serach Engine Results Pages (SERPs),” he explains.

“Mobile friendliness is just a new and very important factor that has been added to the mix for searches conducted from mobile devices.

“If an organisation wishes to be found via mobile search, and most likely would given the rise of mobile device use, then this is important to factor into website design.”

To find out, at the beginning of May 2015, NZRS Ltd ran a test on a sample of 64,000 .nz domains (10 percent of its active 640,000 names).

According to Morrision, there are two main flags in the results, worked meaning the test actually completed, and passed signalling the test scored high enough to pass the threshold.

But before diving into the results, Morrison provides a quick look at the mobile-friendly test to understand more about what mobile-friendly means from a Google context.

“To help organisations establish if this change would affect them, Google provided the Mobile-Friendly Test,” he explains.

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