The update on April 21 was focused on providing a better search experience for mobile users. To accomplish this, Google “expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” So what does that mean to business owners? If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your mobile search engine rankings could take a hit.
In an email sent to Webmasters, Google indicated they are looking at the following factors when determining if your website is mobile friendly or not.
- Content not sized to viewport – This means that the content of your website is not resizing to match the width of the viewer’s screen. This will result in text that is challenging for user to read and may cause a horizontal scroll bar making site navigation a challenge for the user. Do you have to pinch, pull or zoom to read your web pages on a mobile phone? If so, your site is probably not mobile-friendly.
- Touch elements too close – Links and buttons that are clickable on a mobile device need to be approximately 12-20 pixels apart to make for easy touching on a smaller screen. Having your buttons, links or other touch elements too close together will cause a usability issue and will make your site not mobile friendly in Google’s algorithm.
- Flash usage – Most mobile browsers do not render Flash-based content. Therefore, mobile visitors will not be able to use a page that relies on Flash in order to display content, animations, or navigation. When Steve Jobs declared “Flash is dead”, he was right!
However, if you get a message that looks something like the one below, then you’ll want to take immediate action.
- Check with your webmaster. It’s possible that your website just needs a few tweaks to make it mobile friendly. Make sure to get a few example sites from your webmaster and run them through the Google Test. If they pass, there is a good chance your webmaster can help make your website mobile friendly.
- Find a new provider. If your current provider cannot create a mobile or responsive site for you, it’s time to start looking for a new vendor. If you are looking for a new provider, make sure you find one who is well versed in Search Engine Optimization. You don’t want to create a new site with a mobile solution, only to jeopardize existing desktop rankings with non-optimized titles and a changing URL structure.
- Test and test again. Once you have a mobile solution in place, it’s important to check every page of your site to make sure all links work and all pages are loading properly.
Is your website mobile-friendly? Have you been affected by Google’s recent update focusing on mobile? Let us know in the comments below.