Are you Mobile Friendly?
Are You Ready To Be Mobile-Friendly?
I recently asked a friend who has his own business website, if he’s mobile-friendly. He looked at me strangely and replied, “…The relationship between me and my phone is my own business”. Hmm, I could see this was going to take some more explaining.
On April 21st 2015, Google applied a tweak to its algorithm. If you have a website or planning on building one soon, this ‘tweak’ could be apocalyptic, some in the industry calling it MOBILEGEDDON.
Mobile-friendly, doesn’t describe how well you get on with your phone (as my friend above did), it’s a term to define how user friendly websites look on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Google’s aim is to reward those who have designed their websites for the mobile internet by pushing their ranking higher up on the search engine. Those who have yet to optimise their site for the mobile market will likely see their position on Google begin to decline.
Google explains that it has been forced into creating this change, due to the increasing number of people across the globe using mobile devices to access the internet. According the internet search giants, “In the United States, 94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones, but bizarrely, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present”.
Some key features that Google will consider mobile-friendly are websites that are easy to read when displayed on a mobile device. This means websites requiring minimal scrolling, both vertically and horizontally, and they should be easy to navigate as menus have restricted space on mobile devices. Google also defines devices not mobile-friendly, when the user is required to pinch or zoom in order to read the content. They also go on to add that users find this quite an exasperating experience and will more than likely leave the site. Mobile-friendly also includes sites that avoid using Flash, and they will be categorised favourably because Apple products do not support Flash. Furthermore, sites loading speedily and without delay will also benefit from the change.
No doubt there are some other underlying money making reasons why Google is forcing this onto website owners, but personally I believe it will only enrich the user experience of mobile internet. Think about the amount of times you click on a link on your phone, only to wait what seems like an age for it to finally open, to then find you have to start zooming in, then having to slide your finger left and right just to get to read the content. It’s very frustrating, and ultimately more times than not, I will close the page and look elsewhere.
If you still need convincing that the mobile-friendly update from Google is important, consider the following statistic. According to Yoast, in the majority of western countries, 50-60% of searches are done using a mobile device. This number is only going to increase in the future, therefore if you rely on your website to perform well on Google, you must adopt the new mobile-friendly way of searching while on the move, or your ranking will suffer.
Not sure whether your site is mobile-friendly? No problem. To avoid getting penalised by the new changes, Google has kindly created a tool to check and confirm how mobile-friendly the pages on your site are. All you do is go to the following link and add a URL from one of the pages of your site: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Google will analyse and tell you if your page is mobile-friendly or not. Regardless of your page passing or not, there are always ways of improving your site. The key thing to remember is that Google wants you to give your users an enhanced experience when browsing your site. This will ultimately help you make money by purchasing your product or services and reading your content.
To discuss whether your site is mobile-friendly or not, and ways to improve it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org