On April 21st 2015, Google released a new mobile friendly ranking algorithm, favouring mobile friendly web pages in the search results.
They basically said if your website wasn’t mobile friendly you should expect to see a decrease in search engine rankings.
According to comScore, mobile has surpassed desktop internet traffic, making it both the present and the future.
Mobile users now expect an internet experience optimised for their mobile devices:
46% of consumers said they wouldn’t return to a website if it hadn’t loaded properly on their mobile device the first time.
You may have noticed that text labels have been added to snippets in mobile search results, alerting users to whether the web page has been developed for mobile device.
It’s likely that more and more users will start noticing this, resulting in the click through rate (CTR) of web pages that do not display the tag to decrease.
How do I Check my website is mobile friendly?
Head over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and enter your page URL:
Unfortunately, aside from the hints on the left, if your site returns a “no” you really don’t get that much feedback.
I mean it’s brilliant WilliCreative got a YES, (which we kind of knew already) but are there any areas for improvement?
As you can see from the screenshot, Google considers 5 rules that impact whether a website is mobile friendly:
1) Viewport Configuration
Problems occur when you do not specify a viewport meta tag or specify a viewport that fails to adapt to different screen sizes.
Google recommends the following:
<meta name=viewport content =”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>
In layman’s terms the above is simply telling the browser to make the width of the page the same as the screen size and as wide as it can be within that screen, in the event a user turns their phone sideways.
2) Font legibility
Problems occur when text on a web page is too small for users to read.
3) Use of incompatible plugins
Problems occur when plugins that most mobile browsers don’t support like Silverlight or Flash are used.
4) Content to Viewport
Problems occur when the web page fails to fit horizontally within the viewport size.
5) Size and Proximity of Links
Problems occur when form fields, links and buttons are either too close together or too small for a user to easily tap on a touch screen device.
If you wish to dig further I suggest using Google Search Consoles usability report. It will provide you information on crawl errors under the smartphone option:
It will also allow you to compare mobile and smartphone traffic and search engine rankings. Lower mobile rankings may indicate you have a problem.
What if my website isn’t mobile friendly?
1) Create a mobile version of your current website.
It’s a cost effective solution for those on a limited budget, however it’s important to understand you will be creating a second site, which means you will have to update two sites rather than one. This will increase workload and possibly infuriate users if their is less content available on the mobile version of your website
2) Use a plugin
If your website has been developed on a content management system (CMS), there are several plugins available that provide solutions to making your website mobile friendly.
Using extensions to help render content for mobile devices, WP-touch is used on over 5.5 million WordPress blogs.
JetPack provides a secondary option via it’s “Mobile Theme”, which can be used for the optimization of a WordPress site for mobile devices.
JoomlaShine provides a simple option to make your website responsive if you are running the Joomla platform.
3) Redesign The Website
Responsive design ensures the same code for the website works across multiple screen resolutions.
No matter the size of the device – tablet or smartphone, you have a site that is relatively consistent across the board.
If your website is running on a CMS, an option would be to simply change to a responsive theme. Although this sounds like a simple and quick fix, it may cause changes to your website, particularly within widget areas.
Using a plugin like Theme Test Drive, will allow you to view the changes before making a decision.
If you have the budget, employing the services of a web designer could be the best option. Maybe it’s time for a change and the design and development of a brand new site would compliment the growth and success your business is currently receiving?
I’ve heard WilliCreative are excellent and very reasonable
If you require further information, those friendly people at Google have put together a comprehensive guide on how to make your website mobile friendly.
Comments, questions below.