Anybody building, running, or working on a web project knows that keeping up with Google is a challenge.
And another big change towards putting mobile users first is coming soon!
In April, Google’s search algorithms will start increasing the ranking of mobile-friendly sites and using more information from indexed apps as a ranking factor for signed-in users.
In case you missed this quick announcement from Google at the end of February:
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.
In other words, if your website isn’t responsive to different mobile formats and screen sizes, it will get dropped way down in Google’s search rankings.
Bad Mobile Sites = Bad User Experience
It makes sense that Google wants websites to improve their mobile presence. A bad mobile website means a bad user experience, and Google wants to promote better mobile UX.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise.
According to we are social, unique mobile users exceeded 50% in September 2014, and they predict 2015 will bring roughly 200 million new mobile users. In addition, mobile’s share of global web traffic leapt 39% last year, and a third of all web pages are now served to mobile phones.
Pew Research Center also found 55% of American cell phone owners use their phones to go online – to surf the web, exchange emails, or download apps.
The web is far from dead, but mobile clearly matters. Failing to provide customers with an easy way to research, discover, or purchase products is starting to become unacceptable.
What Makes Your Site Mobile-Friendly?
So, what can you do to get the mobile-friendly stamp of approval?
Here’s what Google recommends:
- Find out if your website is mobile-friendly. Check your pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Find problematic pages. View the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools to highlight non-mobile-friendly pages or important issues found on your site.
- Learn more about mobile-friendly design. There are lots of different techniques you can use to create a mobile-friendly site. Make sure you review Google’s guidelines.
- Make your site mobile-friendly with 3rd party software. If you’re using WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or another CMS website, visit Google’s helpful CMS instructions to learn how to customize software for mobile users.
- Fix mobile usability issues. Once you know what issues are holding you back from being mobile-friendly – fix them!
- Learn from others. Read about how to get started with mobile and don’t forget to check out Google’s updated documentation about mobile-friendly websites. And if you get stuck, you can always ask for help in the Google developer help community.
If you’ve already got a mobile-friendly site, don’t assume you’re ready to go. There’s always room for improvement. We recommend taking time to do an audit of your site to make sure you’re completely prepared. There’s still plenty of time to optimize!