Is your site mobile friendly?
If not you don’t have much time left.
That’s because Google will implement a new algorithm that incorporates mobile usability as a ranking factor. This shouldn’t be surprising though given the growing dominance of mobile usage. More people are accessing the Internet using smartphones and tablets so it makes sense for Google to adapt to these patterns.
In a Webmaster Central blog post , Google made the following statement:
- Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their dees.”
- In other words, sites that are mobile friendly will rank higher than their non-mobile friendly counterparts. The algorithm update is expected to have a larger impact than the previous Panda and Penguin updates.
What the Update Means for Site Owners
According to data from ComScore, there are now more users on mobile dees accessing the Internet than on desktops:
This represents a major shift in the digital landscape. It means that consumers now rely on mobile dees more than ever to research and purchase products. A key finding from a survey found that nearly half of users started on search engines for mobile research.
Why is this important?
Because it means your business could be losing potential sales for having a non-mobile friendly site. And now it means your site will see a negative impact in search visibility if it isn’t optimised for mobile dees by the April 21 deadline.
This can mean a significant drop in revenue especially if your business depends on online searches.
The good news is that Google has made the announcement early. This is to ensure webmasters have sufficient time to prepare. Remember that the update is designed to provide the most relevant results and a positive user experience.
Preparing for the Mobile Algorithm Update
Google has already implemented a change that adds a mobile friendly label to the mobile search results. The purpose of the label is to make it easier for visitors to find sites that are friendly for their dee:
Sites that meet the following criteria are eligible to receive this label:
- Avoids software not common on mobile dees (e.g., Flash)
- Uses text that is easily readable without having to zoom
- Sizes content to fit the screen without scrolling horizontally
- Links are placed far enough apart so the correct one can be tapped
Here are the steps to get your site ready for the upcoming algorithm update.
Take the Mobile-Friendly Test
The first step is to run your site through Google’s own mobile friendly test The tool will take a moment to analyse your site to determine if your site is optimised for mobile dees. If you see the following, your site is already mobile friendly:
- Another way to test your site is to use a smartphone dee and search your business name in Google. If your site meets all the criteria, you should see the mobile friendly label in the search results. But if it doesn’t, continue to the next step.
Responsive design provides an optimal browsing experience as it dynamically adjusts to fit all screen sizes from smartphones to tablets, without needing a separate mobile site. This is Google’s recommended configuration for several reasons:
- Desktop and mobile content are kept on a single URL
- Pages can be discovered and indexed more efficiently
- Responsive design also offers a number of SEO benefits. You only have one site to manage which means all links are built to a single URL as opposed to multiple sites. A site optimised for mobile also helps to reduce bounce rate which is another ranking factor.
If your site uses WordPress or other third-party software, there are numerous templates available to make your site responsive. Another alternative is to work with a developer to ensure that all mobile requirements are met.
Use the Mobile Usability Report
Google Webmaster Tools provides a comprehensive picture of your site. The Mobile Usability Report highlights major usability issues across your whole site.
Here is an example:
- The number of errors are displayed and scrolling down the page further reveals the exact error. Be sure to address each of these to ensure your site is properly optimised.
A mobile friendly site makes it easy for visitors to browse your pages on their dee.
Google has recently announced a new algorithm change that makes mobile usability a ranking factor. The deadline is set for April 21 which is only a few weeks from now. Check your site using the mobile friendly test and take steps to ensure your site is optimised.
Otherwise you could be losing sales due to lower rankings when the update launches. Then use the Mobile Usability Report found in Google Webmaster Tools to check and fix any mobile errors on your pages. Working with a developer will help to streamline the process.
Does your site fail the mobile friendly test?
You could lose search engine traffic when the new algorithm update rolls out. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our team. We take steps to ensure that your site is mobile friendly just in time for the update.
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