If you haven’t heard already, big things are happening tomorrow in search with Google launching a major update to their algorithm said to effect more queries than both previous major updates; “Penguin” and “Panda”.
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 devices. – Official Google Webmaster Blog (Feb 26 2015)
What Does It All Mean?
Google wants to give their users the best experience possible. If your site is not mobile-friendly, sites that are will be ranked above yours in the SERPs (search engine result pages), taking traffic and potential customers away from you.
If your site is mobile-friendly, you could potentially see an improvement in your ranking positions.
How Do I Know If My Site Mobile-Friendly?
This is the easy part! Here are the best ways to determine if your website is mobile-friendly.
1. Use Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test” tool.
The test will analyse a given URL and report back on whether the page is mobile-friendly. If yes, you’ll get a large green box congratulating you. If not, you’ll be given a list of actionables that you need to take in order to pass the test.
2. View your site in Google on a mobile device.
Search for your domain or company using Google search on your mobile. If your site is mobile-friendly, you’ll see a label next to your domain:
3. Check Google Webmaster Tools
If you’ve got this setup (which you should!), head on over to Google Webmaster Tools and go to “Search Traffic > Mobile Usability” via the left hand menu. If you’re mobile friendly you’ll receive a nice “No mobile usability errors detected.” message. If not, you’ll see something similar to the below with a list of areas you need to improve:
What Do I Do Now?
If you’re not mobile-friendly, get crackin’!
The best way to move forward on this is to implement a responsive website design. This will allow your website to keep the same content and scale based on the device that is being used. This makes users happy which in-turn makes Google happy. If you’ve got an old, “dated” website and have been putting off getting a new one, now is the perfect time!
Depending on how your website has been setup, this can be a very simple fix. A skilled designer should be able to take your existing design and make it “responsive” simply by using scaleable vs. fixed widths to your website layout. By using @media queries in CSS, your website will know what type of device is being used and show an appropriately sized version based on that. I was able to make my blog responsive (and therefore mobile-friendly) in less than an hour!
After that, Google will crawl your website and update its index rendering you mobile-friendly!
If you have any questions or are having issues i’m very interested to hear from you and will help however I can. Get in touch or leave a comment below!