Google shook up the SEO world last month when it announced that “mobile-friendliness” will soon be added as a ranking factor in its mobile search algorithm. The change will be implemented worldwide on April 21, at which point websites with search-engine-friendly mobile versions will have a significant leg up on their search competition.
Like all Google search algorithm changes, the new ranking factor is intended to improve the search experience for users. Recent studies estimate that about half of all Google searches come from smartphones, and those searches account for nearly 40% of total website traffic across all industries. Those numbers are expected to continue climbing, which makes it easy to see why Google put an emphasis on rewarding high-quality mobile sites.
So what does this all mean for you and your website? Simply put, your mobile search visibility, rankings, and traffic will decrease starting April 21 if your site is not mobile friendly. You don’t want that to happen, so here’s what you need to do:
1. Visit Google’s mobile-friendly site checker and enter your homepage URL*. If your site passes, then you’re good to go!
*It’s important to note that this tool only checks the page entered. If your homepage passes the mobile-friendly test, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your whole website is mobile-friendly. To determine if your site is 100% mobile-friendly, you’ll have to check each individual page.
2. If your site fails, then you either have no mobile website or a poorly-designed mobile website.
No mobile website: If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, then the desktop version appears when accessed on a mobile device. For the most part, desktop websites are far too complex and crowded to be considered mobile-friendly by Google.
Poorly-designed mobile website: Just because there’s a mobile version of your website doesn’t mean Google will consider it mobile-friendly. To meet Google’s mobile design standards, be sure that your site…
- doesn’t use software unavailable on mobile devices.
- includes enough space between links for easy clicking.
- has text that’s readable without zooming.
- doesn’t require horizontal scrolling.
To fix these issues yourself, consult Google’s Mobile Guide for extensive information regarding mobile design, development, and usability.
3. If you don’t have in-house web development capabilities, then you’ll need to work with an outside web developer/designer. The company or professional that built your site can probably build you a mobile site as well, although you should do some research to make sure they know what they’re doing.
The clock is ticking – April 21 will be here sooner than you think! Start your site’s mobile-friendly conversion today or you’ll risk losing website visitors and potential customers.
At MLT Group, we design, build, and optimize websites for a wide variety of clients. Our responsive websites automatically adjust to be viewed on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Google loves our websites because they’re well-designed, user-friendly, and compatible with all browsers and devices.